Prison escapee surrenders after stealing ambulance

Staff report
Joshua Kelly

ST. GABRIEL - Officials are investigating an inmate escape from a maximum security, state-run correctional facility in St. Gabriel.

An inmate stole a correctional facility ambulance and attempted to escape early Friday morning, officials said.

Joshua Kelly, 38, escaped from the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center Friday morning around midnight, according to officials with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Kelly had been working as an infirmary orderly at the correctional center with a group of night cleaning crew offenders when he allegedly overcame a correctional officer.

According to officials, Kelly partially disguised himself as a correctional officer by putting on a uniform jacket before stealing a corrections ambulance and driving out of the facility.

Officials say law enforcement agents from the area assisted in the search and Kelly's eventual capture.

At the time of the escape, Kelly was serving a 65-year sentence for several Orleans Parish armed robbery convictions.

Kelly was apprehended around 2:30 a.m. in Ascension Parish at the intersection of La. 73 and La. 75, officials said.

Officials say this is the first inmate escape from the Hunt correctional center since 2005.

Kelly came into the department's custody in 1994 but served most of his time at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Additional charges for Kelly would come from local law enforcement agencies, officials said.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said the parish has not pressed additional charges against Kelly yet, but may file escape charges against the inmate in the future.

It is unclear how much additional time would be tacked onto Kelly's sentence if convicted.