SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office said two inmates who jumped the perimeter fence and escaped the Sevier County Jail are back in custody.
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office says Clyde Lee Martin, 34, and Robert A. Sosa, 27, were taken into custody behind a fast food restaurant in Decatur, Tennessee, by the Decatur Police Department and the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office. They were in a Chevrolet truck reported stolen from a hardware store in downtown Sevierville.
Both suspects are being held in the Meigs County jail and will be transported to Sevier County to face new charges of felony jail escape, criminal conspiracy and vandalism.
Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said both escaped around 12:30 a.m. Monday. Martin was being held for theft and violation of probation. Sosa was being held for assault, two counts of auto theft, aggravated burglary, evading arrest and violation of probation. Both inmates were from Sevierville.
Sheriff Seals said they are still trying to figure out how Sosa and Martin were able to escape. He said corrections officers ran after Sosa and Martin after they jumped the fence, but weren’t able to catch them.
Some who own businesses or were out shopping on Monday felt a sense of uneasiness and caution.
“I don’t think they’re around here. I mean, they’d be kind of crazy to stay around,” said Jennifer Dyer who owns Courthouse Donuts.
Dyer says she feels safe and well protected because the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office is right across the street.
“When we leave tonight or when we come in early tomorrow of course we’re going to take a few extra precautions,” she said.
Some like James Dixon say they’re hoping for the same answers investigators are trying to solve.
“That’s my question. How did they get out?”
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Team, Sevierville Police Department, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force were called in to continue the search.
“That makes me feel unnerving, especially working across the street when it happened,” added Dixon.
“I don’t feel scared because they aren’t hardened criminals. Stealing a car, that’s bad, but they’re not murderers,” said Wendy Rocchietti.
Rocchietti thinks changes need to be made.
“I really think it’s becoming a statewide problem. I really think it is. They need to hire better help evidently,” she said.
As investigators keep searching, Dyer at Courthouse Donuts knows, just in case, she’s got help right around the corner.
“I would have no problem if I felt uneasy saying ‘Hey can you watch me walk in.” or something like that,” she said.