Police stumbled upon runaway inmate while looking for different suspect who fled officers Thursday
ST. GABRIEL - Authorities say they inadvertently found a missing work release inmate from East Baton Rouge while looking for another suspect for a completely unrelated crime in Iberville Parish.
According to the arrest report, Tracy Smith was assigned to work at Fred's Travel Center on Nicholas Drive in St. Gabriel, but he apparently walked off the job site Wednesday without permission.
Despite deputies looking for him, it was actually St. Gabriel Police who found Smith hiding in a wooded area off LA 30 Thursday while looking for someone else entirely. Those officers were combing the area for a man who fled the Tanger Outlet Mall in Ascension Parish and nearly ran over an officer earlier in the afternoon.
The man who fled from Gonzales still hasn't been located, but a woman who was a passenger during his flight from law enforcement was taken into custody along with another woman they apparently left behind at the mall.
Smith was arrested Thursday and booked into jail on one count of simple escape.