Escapee nabbed by officers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001


LAPLACE – A St. John the Baptist Parish prisoner gave sheriff’s deputies a run for their money Monday morning when he escaped after court at the Arcuri Center on Cambridge Drive. According to Chief Harold Klibert of the St. John Sheriff’s Office, deputies transported nine or 10 prisoners to the Cambridge Courthouse early Monday morning. As deputies pulled the van up to the entrance of the building they noticed two women standing close to the center. They asked them to leave, but the women did not respond. The inmates went inside, and after court, upon exiting the building an inmate distracted deputies while Charles A. Stewart, 35, broke into a run down Cambridge Drive. Deputies followed Stewart, never losing sight of him until he turned the corner onto Penn Drive heading toward Revere Drive. Stewart attempted to hide in the trunk of a parked beige 1999 Mercury Mystique, which had apparently been left unlocked so he could slip into it and hide from officers, said Klibert. As officers rounded the corner, they spotted the trunk lid closing on the vehicle, and they knocked on it to tell him to come out. They informed Stewart they knew he was in there, and that he should come out with his hands up. After a few seconds, Stewart emerged, and he was taken to the Sherman R. Walker Correctional Center. He will be charged with simple escape, a crime that carries a two- to five-year sentence in addition to his existing sentence, if convicted. Officers later learned the two women standing outside the Arcuri Center were involved. Tanya Creecy, 34, 2437 Cambridge Drive, and Antoinette Brooks, 18, 364-B E. 13th St., Reserve, were both arrested and charged with assisting an escape. Bond has been set at $5,000 each by Judge Sterling Snowdy. Conviction of the charge, a felony, carries up to five years in prison. Officials said Brooks was Stewart’s girlfriend. Stewart, who is awaiting trial for possession and distribution charges, has a lengthy arrest record beginning in 1984. He has had four felony convictions and has been charged with close to 70 other crimes. “We’re still investigating. We want to make sure all our security matters involving transporting inmates to any locations will be done in a proper manner,” said Klibert. “Stewart was almost constantly in eyesight. There was never any question of danger. The entire pursuit probably lasted about five minutes.”