PRISON ESCAPE: Last escaped inmate arrested after van stolen

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Inmate at-large James Douglas Mitchell, and the stolen prison van recovered in north Minneapolis.

Escaped prison inmate James Mitchell has been arrested after he was seen at a Minneapolis park, according to Minneapolis police.

At 4:25 p.m., police arrested Mitchell at the 35W and 8th Street SE bridge in Minneapolis. Police say a 911 caller spotted him. State Patrol troopers and University of Minnesota police captured him as Minneapolis police and Department of Corrections agents responded.

Mitchell had been at-large since this morning after stealing a van that was transporting 8 other inmates at the prison in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, an offender took control of a 2011 white Ford van with Minnesota license plate 937 EPJ during a stop at the Minnesota Corrections Facility in Lino Lakes.

The vehicle was transporting nine inmates, including Mitchell, from the prison in St. Cloud, stopping at several Minnesota corrections facilities. Authorities said Mitchell overtook the van during a stop at MCF-Lino Lakes. 

Five of the inmates from the van were apprehended in Mounds View. The stolen van was recovered in north Minneapolis after a resident on the 3800 block of Thomas Avenue N. called police to report what he described as a prison van on his block. Mitchell fled, but three inmates remained in the vehicle and waited for police to arrive.

When police first learned he was in north Minneapolis, police started tracking with a K-9 unit through north side neighborhoods. WATCH CHOPPER VIDEO

MCF-Lino Lakes is a medium-security and minimum-security prison with a population of 1,300 inmates. Lino Lakes is also a site of the Minnesota Sex Offender Treatment Program, which can house 270 offenders.

Timeline of events

At approximately 11:30 a.m., the Minnesota Department of Corrections were notified by law enforcement that five offenders were apprehended in the Mounds View area: Vance Erik Jourdain, Edward Washington, Shawn Lee Jackson, Anthony Dwayne Alexander and Dylan Cantrell Bathke.

At approximately 12 p.m., DOC was notified by law enforcement that three offenders were apprehended in North Minneapolis: Mitchell Dale Saltzman, Paul Jerome Thunder and Kevin Ladell Mitchell.
At 3 p.m., James Douglas Mitchell remained at large and was last known to be in the area of north Minneapolis.

At. 4:25 p.m., police arrested Mitchell at the 35W and 8th Street SE bridge in Minneapolis after a 911 caller saw him at a park.

Fugitive inmate struck US Marshal with SUV last fall

James Mitchell was charged last October with hitting a U.S. Marshal with a stolen SUV. Mitchell was charged with first-degree assault for using deadly force against a peace officer and also for fleeing a police officer.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 6, officers from multiple agencies were attempting to execute warrants for Mitchell's arrest.  He was wanted for burglary and assault and also three other cases in Hennepin County as well as a Ramsey County case.

Authorities found him sitting in the driver's seat of a stolen Cadillac SUV in Minneapolis, with two women in the back seat. When the officers started to approach him and attempted to arrest him, Mitchell put the SUV in reverse, hitting a deputy U.S. Marshal. The forced pinned the marshal against a K9 squad car. While he was pinned, he heard the engine rev and was afraid he would be crushed. The marshal's protective vest, however, contained a plate, which saved him from more severe injuries.