Two escaped inmates captured in Cocke County | UPDATE

NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was a short escape for two men in Cocke County. Two inmates that took off from a ministry program are back behind bars.

They escaped from just in front of the Cocke County Detention Center. After a high speed chase, deputies found one of those inmates, Jimmy Grooms, in the Cosby Community. The other, Austin Fine, was caught around just after midnight this morning.

Police caught Grooms in the Cosby community after a four mile chase. Sheriff Armondo Fontes said, "They attempted to stop the vehicle then fled which ensued a pursuit with multiple officers and were able to box him in and stop safely."

Grooms escaped Sunday from outside the Cocke County Detention Facility. He was on a supervised ministry program. Some ask why a man with rape, kidnapping and assault charges was allowed out of the jail. And he has a 5 page criminal record dating back to 1983. This isn't his first escape. Sheriff Fontes said, "One of the jail staff members allowed him to go and be a part of this program. He shouldn't have been a part of."

Deputies captured the other inmate, Austin Fine, around midnight.
He was in jail on violent crimes involving theft and assault charges.
Sheriff Fontes said he's launched an internal inquiry into the jail staff.

"I'm in the process of trying to find out why he was put on this program. We don't want violent offenders to go out in the community," he said.

The sheriff says there are no other violent offenders out on work release right now.

Both Fine and Grooms will face additional charges for escaping.
We're still waiting to find out who the third person was that deputies caught with Grooms.



Previous story:

Deputies captured Jimmy Grooms on Cosby Highway around noon Monday. Austin Fine was taken into custody around 12:30 AM Monday.


Original Story:

Two inmates have escaped from custody in Cocke County.

The Cocke County Sheriff's Department says six inmates were on work supervision by three ministry program workers when two of them ran off Sunday afternoon.

It happened as they were about to take the inmates back to the detention facility.

Deputies say this ministry program has been in place for three years and this is the first incident since its inception.

One inmate, Jimmy Grooms, 49, has been a part of this rehabilitation program for over a year.

Grooms was awaiting trial on alleged kidnapping charges and assault.

Jimmy Grooms has entered a not guilty plea and was eligible for bond, but he refused to accept bond.

Austin Fine, 20, also escaped. He recently entered the program after being convicted of probation violation and is awaiting other theft charges.

Officials have been searching all afternoon for the two inmates.

If you have about either suspect, contact the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office at 423-623-3064 or 423-623-6023.

An anonymous tip can be left online on their website.


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