Two inmates briefly escaped Friday afternoon after the prisoner transport bus they were riding in broke down in Polk County, Texas.
The incident all started at about 1:20 p.m. Two contract prisoner buses were transporting inmates from Houston to a correctional facility in La Salle, Louisiana when one bus became disabled on State Highway 190 East near FM 1276.
Both buses stopped so the tire could be repaired. During the stop, two inmates wearing prison jumpsuits escaped the bus and fled into a wooded area, according to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Police Department.
The two inmates were able to cut their restraints, open the door, and run from the bus, according to Polk County Sheriff Bryon Lyons.
Officials said that before escaping, one of the inmates was able to grab an unsecured firearm that was in the front of the bus.
He ran about a half a mile, then stopped at someone’s home on private property, who held them there until law enforcement arrived, Lyons said.
Sheriff Lyons tells ABC13 the homeowner played a huge role in law enforcement catching the inmates so quickly.
“Having the citizen who stepped in to help, certainly we know because the inmates possessing a firearm, this could have gone in a different direction, he said.
The escapees were located and taken back into custody after about half an hour. The gun was recovered, authorities said.
No one was injured during their escape.
Both inmates were transported to the Polk County Jail and have been subsequently charged with felony escape.
With Polk County having transport buses driving through the area often, the sheriff says changes are coming.
The incident is still under investigation and additional charges are pending at this time, according to officials.