WASHINGTON — Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped while being transported to a Howard County psychiatric hospital Friday morning.
David Watson, 28, was being transported to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, Maryland, around 9:40 a.m. when he escaped custody and fled into a wooded area.
“A guard opened the door after the van stopped in the parking lot and Watson, who was the only occupant, pushed the guard to the ground and ran into the woods,” said Howard County Police Department spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.
Watson is not believed to be armed, and there’s no evidence that he planned his escape.
“There’s no indication at this time whether this was something that was planned in advance, or an impulsive act in the moment,” Llewellyn said.
Llewellyn said Watson freed himself from handcuffs and a waist chain, which police found at the scene. It’s unclear if he was wearing leg shackles when he was in the van, she said.
Watson is serving a sentence of more than 100 years in Delaware for crimes including attempted murder. He’s been charged with attempted murder and other offenses on Maryland’s Eastern Shore related to shootings of police officers’ homes.
He was transported to the maximum-security facility, commonly referred to as Maryland’s forensic psychiatric hospital, for an evaluation that was court ordered for his charges in Maryland, Llewellyn said.
He is described as a white male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. He was wearing all-white clothing when he escaped, but officials found some of the articles of clothing in the woods.
He was last seen in the area of Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road.
Below is a map of that area:
Officials from several jurisdictions are searching the area with patrol officers, K-9 unites and a police helicopter.
Anyone who sees a suspicious subject matching Watson’s description should call 911.
The Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center performs pretrial evaluations of defendants, assessment of and treatment for patients, and provides maximum security custody of patients to ensure public safety.
Stay with WTOP for updates on this developing story.
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