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Escaped inmate got 90-minute head start

Sep 4, 2013 - The Associated Press

CASPER -- An inmate who escaped on his way to the Sweetwater County jail got a head start because the private company transporting him didn't notify authorities for nearly an hour and a half.

His whereabouts remained unknown Wednesday.

Kenneth James Ward fled Saturday evening after the Inmate Services Corp. van stopped near Independence Rock for a restroom break.

Surveillance footage shows Ward ducking out of restroom and running away.

Natrona County sheriff Gus Holbrook said the company's two guards decided to search for Ward on their own before notifying his office.

Ward was handcuffed but was not wearing leg or bell chains, which would have slowed him down.

Authorities believe Ward hiked at least 15 miles through the night and looped back to near the rest area.

Motorists traveling over the weekend saw signs on both Interstate 25 and Interstate 80 warning of an escaped prisoner and a manhunt in progress.

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