Archive for Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Captured sex offender charged with escape

October 31, 2012, 1:10 p.m. Updated November 1, 2012, 1:20 p.m.


Deon Rhoutt escaped from a prisoner transport van Monday evening. He&squot;s 5&squot;5", about 140 pounds.

Deon Rhoutt escaped from a prisoner transport van Monday evening. He's 5'5", about 140 pounds.

A Colorado sex offender who escaped from a prison transport van in Lawrence Monday night was charged Wednesday afternoon with aggravated escape from custody in Douglas County District Court.

Deon Gregory Routt, 22, escaped from a prison transport van about 5:30 p.m. Monday near 23rd and Louisiana streets. Area law enforcement searched the area for several hours and enlisted the help of a canine search unit but didn't find Routt.

On Wednesday, police said they could have done a better job alerting the public that Routt had escaped.

He was at-large until about 3 p.m. Tuesday, when police spotted Routt talking to a group of people near the intersection of 12th and Indiana streets, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley. Routt fled when police approached, jumping over several retaining walls, but he was arrested in the 1100 block of Mississippi.

The officers who first spotted Routt were conducting foot patrol of the area after several witnesses reported seeing someone matching Routt's description in the Oread neighborhood.

When police arrested Routt, he was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital as a precaution, but he sustained only minor injuries during the pursuit, McKinley said.

It's not yet clear what type of restraints Routt was wearing when he escaped, but at some point he removed any handcuffs or shackles.

Police response

Lissa Caussey, who lives in the Breezedale neighborhoor near Haskell Indian Nations University, said she was frustrated by a lack of information about the case immediately after Routt's escape.

Police were searching her neighborhood, and officers on the scene provided some information about the incident.

But police didn't send out a news release about the escape until Tuesday morning, 15 hours after it occurred.

Caussey and her neighbors turned to a neighborhood listserv, sharing what they knew with each other.

"We were emailing back and forth," she said.

The Journal-World ran a brief story that police were searching for an escapee, but calls Monday evening to police for more information were not returned.

"That's certainly regrettable," said McKinley, the police spokesman. "Their function is to return those calls."

McKinley said the goal in such situations is to provide timely information to the public, in hopes of protecting their safety and asking for assistance or witnesses.

"That would've been more ideal," he said.

McKinley said the police have talked about how to respond better in future situations.

Next step for Routt

What happens to Routt now is unclear. He'll face the aggravated escape from custody charge in Douglas County, which is a level-8 felony, punishable by up to two years in prison.

His preliminary hearing in the local case is Nov. 6.

Failing to register as a sex offender in Colorado — the original reason Routt was arrested — is a felony punishable by a prison term of one year to 18 months.

Routt was being transported by Topeka-based Security Transport Services from the east coast back to Colorado. Routt was arrested in Maine on a warrant issued by the El Paso County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Security Transport Services was involved in another prisoner escape case in November 2011, after a prisoner traveling through Kansas to Colorado stole the van he was being transported in. The van had stopped at a rest area in Topeka when the prisoner — Dartanin Mitchell — escaped. Mitchell was arrested two weeks later in Denver.

Calls to the company have not yet been returned.

Routt was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting a child in Colorado, but the crime occurred when Routt was a juvenile and additional information about the conviction was not available.


Tonya Foster 4 years, 9 months ago

$5 says they uncuffed him so he could eat his Wendy's meal and he bailed.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

It's prison transport van. No outside locks on the doors?

somebodynew 4 years, 9 months ago

Probably correct Buckysbabe. I say not only charge him and get him convicted here, send a bill to Security Transport for all the OT that was paid out looking for this guy.

sentinel4820 4 years, 9 months ago

I hope someday you get sued for slander by a member of the LPD!! Chief Khatib was never in charge of the Traffic Unit as you stated. He was in charge of Internal Affairs. There were no negotiations, it was a matter of one officer asking another to dismiss a ticket written to a friend of the requesting officer. This escapee situation certainly could have been handled better by the evening shift supervisors, but Chief Khatib has obviously taken corrective measures to ensure the lack of communication does not happen again in these high profile incidents.

Keith 4 years, 9 months ago

Why do we have to keep him? Call the private company he escaped from and tell them to get over here and haul him off properly this time. Then bill them for his room and board.

somebodynew 4 years, 9 months ago

B - Unlike Shawnee Co., all the local radio traffic can be heard on your computer (or even on your smart phone if so desired). Shawnee Co. recently scramble theirs, but what I read from the new director in Dg. Co., there is no plan to do that here.

I go to Radio to listen @ home.

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

I thought privatization was the answer to everything? We keep being told that the private sector can do everything government does better, faster, and cheaper. Never mind that it's impossible for that to be true, since costs are fixed and the private company wants to make a profit.

Colorado should have sent a pair of LEOs to ME to get this guy and brought him back by aircraft. None of this would have happened and it probably would have cost less.

gccs14r 4 years, 9 months ago

Re-read the story. Here, I'll help you:

"Routt was arrested in Maine on a warrant issued by the El Paso County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman."

pea 4 years, 9 months ago

My call to the police Monday night was returned in 5 minutes.

somebodynew 4 years, 9 months ago

And By The Way - Kudos to LPD for actually admitting they didn't do a good job getting the information out. Don't often see that !!!

And thanks to all the work they did to catch this guy before he faded into the landscape.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 9 months ago

glad LPD kept up the pressure and caught him.

comments from KU students are funny.

When police arrested Routt, he was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital as a precaution, but he sustained only minor injuries during the pursuit, McKinley said.

awwwww ... did the mean big bad police bang his bippy?

awelles 4 years, 9 months ago

The LPD did do the right thing by admitting they could have done better. We have a fine police department. I'd bet this doesn't happen again. I wonder if there is more of a story with the escapee. Was it a teenager having a sexual encounter with another teenager, both of whom were consenting, but because of the ages put into these laws it became a criminal offense? Eighteen months for the offense and now 2 years for trying to escape. Are we as a society making a criminal out of a young man who because of his age has low impulse control and cannot think of behavioral consequences? Or maybe he's a pedophile and would do us all a favor with suicide?

somebodynew 4 years, 9 months ago

awelles - while I understand what you are asking about the original crime, I don't think the low impulse control part works. He did something that got him on probation (should be a clue). He then knowingly left - not just not checked in, but the entire State. Then when caught, he plans and escapes.

Just what else might his 'low impulse control' tell him to do ??? I think he has earned his criminal reputation.

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