Inmate escapes while working on highway

James Ford was part of a work crew cleaning up along U.S. 19 when he fled.

Published July 12, 2006

A prisoner on work release escaped this morning from a job site along U.S. 19 at the Pinellas-Pasco county line and was still at large this afternoon, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said.

James Ford, 42, has been imprisoned since 1991 after being convicted in Pinellas County of burglary and grand theft, said Gretl Plessinger, a DOC spokeswoman. Ford was picking up trash along the highway just northeast of Tarpon Springs when he vanished into nearby woods at 11:15 a.m., Plessinger said.

He is a black man, 5-foot-11, weighing 194 pounds. His DOC-issue clothing was found in the woods, so it was unknown what he is wearing.

Ford had been tentatively scheduled for release in January 2007.