11-6-06 - An inmate of the Bryan County jail only had 2 hours of freedom after he escaped from the jail on Monday afternoon. The county just added an army helicopter to it's fleet, and the airship came in handy during the manhunt.
Eugene Francisco Johnico slipped out of a group of 14 inmates who were being walked to their arraignment in the courthouse around 4:45pm. Two jailers were with them, but didn't see Johnico slip out an exit door.
From there, he hitched a ride with a woman, who dropped him off near Silo. Authorities stopped her later, and they narrowed their search to the area around Silo. Using an OH-58 helicopter, Bryan County lawmen searched from the air, finally spotting Johnico after he tried to break into a house at 7pm.
Sheriff Bill Sturch doesn't believe the woman who gave Johnico a ride knew the man or knew there was an escape in progress. She did have warrants out for unrelated offenses.
Johnico was in jail on drug charges. He could now face 15 years in prison for escape. He'll sit in the state pen in McAlester until his trial.