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    Colorado inmate overpowers deputy, escapes hospital; considered 'extremely dangerous'

    By Amaris Encinas and Amanda Lee Myers, USA TODAY,

    In this surveillance camera image, Ronald Caillier is pictured during his escape from a hospital in La Junta, Colorado, on April 11, 2024. Bent County Sheriff's Office

    An inmate who escaped from a Colorado hospital after overpowering a deputy should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous," police say.

    The Otero County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert Friday, writing on Facebook that 38-year-old Ronald Caillier of Gillette, Wyoming had escaped Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center in La Junta, a town about 150 miles southeast of Denver.

    Even though he was handcuffed, Caillier overpowered a deputy and a security officer, fleeing the hospital in the dark of night in a black-and-white striped jumpsuit and handcuffs in the front of his body, officials said.

    Caillier was being held on local charges of burglary and assault at the time of his escape, the Bent County Sheriff's Office said .

    "The public is advised that Caillier is considered armed and extremely dangerous," the sheriff's office said. "It is strongly advised not to confront him if spotted. Instead, individuals are urged to contact local law enforcement immediately."
    Ronald Caillier, 38, is pictured. Police say he managed to overpower a deputy and a security guard while handcuffed at a hospital in La Junta, Colorado, and then escape despite backup arriving within minutes. They say he should be considered "armed and extremely dangerous." Bent County Sheriff's Office

    Police using dog teams, thermal imagers, trackers

    Otero Sheriff’s Office deputy Shawn Mobley told KKTV that said the escape occurred at about 11:39 p.m. Thursday, with officers arriving “on scene within minutes, myself about four minutes after the original call.”

    Since then, they've used dog teams, drones, thermal imagers and trackers in their efforts to find Caillier, he said. The search is ongoing and police are "following up on a couple of leads from the community, as well.”

    Caillier has ties to Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Gillette, Wyoming, the Bent County Sheriff's Office said.

    The deputy and security guard involved in the escape were treated for injuries and have since been released.

    Colorado officers still searching, escaped inmate hits the road with stolen car

    The Baca County Sheriff’s Office provided an update Friday afternoon, warning members of the public to be on the lookout for a 2007 White Dodge Grand Caravan with a Colorado plate that reads BFMW09.

    The agency said the vehicle was stolen either late Thursday or in the early morning hours of Friday, and had a full tank of gas and a 9 mm gun under the driver's seat, according to the post.

    The van does have some damage, including a dent to the passenger side and a cracked passenger side rear view mirror, which should make it easier to spot.

    Other inmate escapes across the country

    Caillier is among a handful of inmates who have made escapes over the last two months.

    USA TODAY has reported on a number of them, which have occurred in North Carolina , Louisiana , and Idaho . And most recently in, Colorado.

    Billy Lee Smith escaped from Marion Correctional Institutio n in Marion, North Carolina on Feb. 7. He was captured a couple hours after his initial escape, USA TODAY reported.

    A couple weeks later, Leon Ruffin, escaped from a New Orleans correctional facility. He pepper-sprayed a deputy and made off in her marked sheriff's vehicle on Feb. 25.  The manhunt for Ruffin, who was wanted on a murder charge, came to an end Tuesday when authorities tracked him to a New Orleans hotel.

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado inmate overpowers deputy, escapes hospital; considered 'extremely dangerous'

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