Two inmates from Big Sandy Regional Detention Center are back in custody after an alleged escape Friday morning, Paintsville Police said.

Officer Zachary Mitchell with the Paintsville Police Department said Jason Lee Mollette, 30, and Matthew Owens, 44, both of Paintsville, were both on their way to court dates Friday morning when they escaped custody.

According to court documents, Mollette had been facing sentencing in Johnson County Circuit Court for charges of third-degree assault of a police/probation officer, second-degree fleeing or evading police, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, public intoxication (controlled substance) and menacing, as well as a probation revocation hearing in another case. Owens was to be arraigned for first-degree complicity to trafficking (two grams or more of methamphetamine), first-degree complicity to wanton endangerment and complicity to possession of drug paraphernalia.

Owens was detained near Ky. 40 behind Bob Evans, Mitchell said.

Mollette, on the other hand, escaped into Paint Creek, with a detention center employee in pursuit, Mitchell said, which eventually led to both Mollette and his pursuer being submerged in the water.

Both inmates were taken to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center for evaluation and clearance before being taken back to jail, but Mitchell said Owens staged another escape from the hospital before he fled to Cemetery Road and allegedly broke into a residence. Owens, Mitchell said, was arrested for a second time in a bedroom of that residence.

Owens then allegedly attempted a third escape from custody in the backseat of a police car before being removed from the vehicle, resecured and taken to BSRDC with medical clearance, Mitchell said.

“This entire operation involved the cooperation of the Paintsville Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, a constable, and the staff of Big Sandy Regional Detention Center,” Mitchell said. “It took everybody working together. We flooded this city with police and got them back in custody.”

As of presstime Friday, neither has been formally charged, but Mitchell said they will be seeking charges of first-degree escape for Mollette, and two counts of first-degree escape, one count of attempted escape, one count of criminal mischief and one count of first-degree burglary for Owens.

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