Woman in SUV helps prisoner on highway crew make fast getaway

Inmate Jason Strickland
Inmate Jason Strickland N.C. Department of Public Safety

A 35-year-old man in prison for larceny and breaking and entering fled a work crew near Wilkesboro early Wednesday, making him the second inmate to escape state custody in the last week.

Jason Strickland, a minimum-custody inmate, left an N.C. Department of Transportation highway crew around 9:30 a.m. on Old Salisbury Road in Wilkes County.

Strickland was one of four inmates on a maintenance crew supervised by DOT employees, said Keith Acree, prison spokesman.

Prison officials think a woman driving a dark-colored GMC Jimmy SUV picked Strickland up and headed south on N.C. 115, Acree said. He was still on the loose early Wednesday afternoon.

He was set to be released from Wilkes Correctional Center in October.

Last week, an inmate scaled a fence and fled New Hanover Correctional Center in eastern North Carolina.

New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies captured Stephen Singleton, 34, several days later following a vehicle chase and crash, according to a state release.

Singleton, who was in prison for habitual misdemeanor assault and larceny, now faces felony escape from prison charges and possibly other charges from his time on the run.

Anyone who has seen Strickland or knows where he is should call Wilkes Correctional at 336-667-4533.

Gavin Off: 704-358-6038