An escaped inmate with only one day left on his sentence fled the store he had just robbed the only way he could -- he hailed a cab.
Kevin Bradley Nelson, 35, of 480 Pickett St., approached a cab driven by Teddy Lawly after snatching a fistful of cash from the register of a Memorial Drive Rite-Aid pharmacy at about 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Lawley, who listens to a police scanner as he drives, had just dropped off a fare when he saw the suspect coming out of the nearby Prattville Baptist Hospital.
"I write down the description of suspects, because I ride all over town and I'm on the lookout for them," he said. "When he walked out of the hospital, I knew who he was. I could tell then he wasn't armed. He got in the back and said 'Let's go, let's go,' real excited. I asked him where to, and he said Millbrook. There were two patrol cars within about 20 feet of me, so I was never scared. I knew as soon as I got close to one of the cars, I was going to tell the police."
The quick-thinking cabby drove to the nearest police car.
"There were cars all over the place, because the robbery had just happened," Lawley said. "I told the officer 'I have your robbery suspect in the back of my car.' And she said 'I know.'"
The officer already had spotted Nelson coming out of the hospital, said Police Chief Alfred Wadsworth.
Nelson bolted from the cab and ran back into the hospital, Wadsworth said. Officers were able to take him into custody without incident, and it was discovered he wasn't armed, Wadsworth said.
Nelson is charged with robbery and escape from the Autauga Metro Jail.
In the four years he's been driving the hack, Lawley said nothing like this has ever happened to him.
"We have a lot of the same people who call us," he said. "Just about everybody is real nice. You kind of get to know your regular fares."
Police were able to recover all the money that was stolen from the store, Wadsworth said. Lawley did just what he was supposed to do, the chief said.
"We never want anyone to take the law into their own hands," he said. "We don't want anyone placing themselves in danger. He approached the first officer he saw, and we were able to make the arrest without incident."
Nelson's weekend adventure began Friday when he didn't return from his work-release job. He was being held in the Autauga Metro Jail under several misdemeanor traffic violations, Sheriff Herbie Johnson said.
Nelson had only one day left in his sentence when he escaped, jail records show.
Heck most of these guys have been in and out of jail much of their adult life anyway, they have no skills, no where to go, and the prison is their home, thats where their friends/gangs are, they have nothing to lose by risking it. "Three hots and a cot."
Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.