Deputies on Friday afternoon intercepted a Chambers County Jail inmate accused of escape and a woman accused of driving the getaway car, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said.
Herbert Lee Coward, 37, of Winnie, had appeared in Chambers County’s 253rd District Court on Friday morning handcuffed, wearing leg irons and an orange and white jail-issued jumpsuit with CCSO on the back, according to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office.
Coward had been arrested by Chambers County on a warrant from Jefferson County for domestic violence, and was carrying a gun when deputies arrested him, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said.
He faced weapons charges and possible revocation of parole, Hawthorne said.
While Coward and other inmates were being loaded into a jail van after leaving the courtroom about 11 a.m., a black, four-door Hyundai Elantra sedan pulled up, Howard jumped in with the female driver and they sped off, Hawthorne said.
Law officers allege that woman was April Savannah Desha, of Winnie, Hawthorne said.
“Ms. Desha, his girlfriend, was in court,” Hawthorne said. “We have her on video, communicating with him nonverbally.” Desha and Coward also allegedly talked by phone 13 times earlier in the day from the phone in the Chambers County Jail, Hawthorne said.
Chambers County detectives later determined the getaway car was headed toward Bolivar Peninsula, and alerted Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset, according to the Chambers Sheriff’s Office.
Galveston County Constable Precinct 3 deputies spotted the vehicle on state Highway 87 between Gilchrist and Crystal Beach, conducted a traffic stop and took both Coward and Desha into custody at about 1:30 p.m. without incident, Hawthorne said.
“I’m lucky I have such a good relationship with Henry,” Hawthorne said. “I was able to call him and he got his guys on the ferry and right over there.”
Coward had cut off his orange jumpsuit and had cut the chain connecting his ankles and wrists, Hawthorne said. He was apprehended wearing boxer shorts, cuffs and shackles.
Coward and Desha were both in Chambers County custody Friday afternoon, awaiting an appearance before a magistrate to be formally charged and bond set, Hawthorne said.