All 6 juveniles that escaped Bridge City youth detention center caught

The Jefferson Parish council has asked Gov. John Bel Edwards to order the permanent closure of...
The Jefferson Parish council has asked Gov. John Bel Edwards to order the permanent closure of the troubled Bridge City Center for Youth, which has seen at least seven escapes and a riot in the first seven months of 2022.
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 9:48 AM CDT
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BRIDGE CITY, La. (WVUE) - Six incarcerated juveniles escaped early Sunday (July 17) from the Bridge City Center for Youth. Five were quickly recaptured, officials said, but the 17-year-old was later captured during a vehicle pursuit.

The Office of Juvenile Justice did not publicly identify the escapee still at large, although state law permits the names of juvenile escapees to be released to the public.

The six juveniles escaped from the embattled facility at 3225 River Road at approximately 2:30 a.m., officials said. After the escape, the OJJ said the facility was placed on lockdown and local law enforcement agencies were notified.

Sunday’s escape was at least the fourth breakout from the Bridge City center this year, and the fifth since last November. In that span, at least 20 juvenile inmates are known to have escaped the facility.

State Sen. Patrick Connick said it’s time for the facility to be shut down.

“We were told there would be increased security, increased police presence, State Police and other enforcement officials,” Connick told Fox 8 on Sunday. “And if that’s the case, then why did this occur?”

Capt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, said five of the escapees were captured after they stole a truck in the 1200 block of River Road.

A JPSO deputy saw the truck being driven without headlights turned on and attempted to stop the vehicle. After a short pursuit, the truck crashed in a wooded area, after repeatedly ramming the deputy’s unmarked silver sedan.

Two 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds and a 12-year-old escapee were in the truck and were captured at the scene, Rivarde said. It was unclear if the sixth escapee was ever in the truck or fled separately.

Then around 5:50 p.m., LSP and NOPD located a stolen vehicle near Old Gentilly Road. Troopers attempted to perform a traffic stop when the vehicle fled in pursuit.

The suspect crashed the vehicle near the intersection of St. Bernard Avenue and North Rocheblave Street. On of the juveniles apprehended was the 17-year-old Bridge City Youth Center escapee.

Photos show damage inflicted early Saturday (July 17) when six juvenile detainees broke out of...
Photos show damage inflicted early Saturday (July 17) when six juvenile detainees broke out of the Bridge City Center for Youth, stole a truck and repeatedly rammed a JPSO deputy's unmarked silver sedan as he tried to stop their escape.(Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office)

The escapee still at large has been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCID) database, the agency said. The OJJ also said a command center had been established at the Bridge City facility to “gather, track and distribute information to assist in the apprehension.”

Related coverage

‘Security is not there;’ 5 recaptured after Bridge City escape

Officials call for closure of troubled Bridge City facility after escapes, assaults, riot

Jefferson Parish Council calls for Bridge City Center for Youth to be shut down

OJJ to temporarily move juveniles from troubled Bridge City facility to Jetson Center in Baker

Angered by the frequent escapes and a June riot that required intervention from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office SWAT team to put down, neighboring residents, JP council members and Connick have called upon Gov. John Bel Edwards to order the facility shut down.

Connick said he’s already spoken to Edwards about this latest breakout.

“The governor needs to do something to stop it,” Connick said. “This facility can’t hold these kids.”

Connick said Edwards has asked for a full investigation and report on this most recent escape and hopes to have more information Monday.

Just last week, the OJJ discussed plans to move some of the facility’s most violent juvenile offenders to a wing of the Louisiana Institute for Women in Jetson. It was unclear whether any such planned transfer had yet taken place.

Less than three weeks ago, OJJ Deputy Secretary Bill Sommers told angry questioners at a Jefferson Parish council meeting, “We’ve not been good neighbors. We haven’t. To have that many folks go out, that many times, I can’t blame them at all. This is on us.

“We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to keep the youth inside these facilities.”

After the council passed a resolution calling upon the governor to permanently close the facility, Edwards’ office responded with a statement that said:

“The community members who live near Bridge City are understandably concerned, and we took immediate action last week to increase security by bringing in additional personnel from the Louisiana Department of Corrections and the Louisiana State Police. The current plan will remain in place for as long as necessary in order to maintain the safety of the youth, employees and the surrounding area.

“We are working to ensure there will not be any other unfortunate disturbances like we have seen in the recent past. This is a top priority for my office. We know that improvements need to be made at Bridge City, and we are working with the Office of Juvenile Justice and other state agencies to develop a long-term plan to address the ongoing issues. This and other secure care facilities for our troubled youth are needed statewide, and we take seriously the care, rehabilitation and safety of the juveniles, the staff and the community at large.”

Anyone with information on the escapee is asked to call local law enforcement at 911 or the command center at (504) 401-3359.

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