Juvenile Escapes Custody, Hitches Ride on Interstate 35

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AMES, Iowa -- A juvenile being transported to a detention facility made a run for it Wednesday and even got some help from drivers along the road.

Police say a transport service was taking the juvenile to a correctional facility around 2 p.m. when they stopped at a rest area along southbound Interstate 35, just north of Ames.

“They pulled in to use the facilities at the rest area and upon exiting out of the facilities, the juvenile male took off running and hopped into a car. And that car left with that male,” said Story County Sgt. Nicholas Lennie.

Police say the escapee ended up about three or four miles down the road, near mile marker 116.

“He ran from this interstate area, from the ditch, and you can see the foot tracks in the snow,” Lennie said. “He ran into the field and I’m not sure how far into the field he was, but he certainly was out of sight from the interstate.”

The people who gave the juvenile a ride say they thought they were just picking up a hitchhiker who looked cold.

“He was hitchhiking for a ride,” said Taveon Hale, of Waterloo. “He said, ‘It’s cold out here,’ so we grabbed him and we put him in the car.”

“I was talking to him in the back he was like, ‘I’m just on my way out of town, man. I’m just trying to get to a safe spot,’” said Charvis Bentley, of Waterloo.

But shortly after picking up the escapee, Bentley and Hale ran into some car trouble.

“The car started shutting down, and he just looked around,” Hale said. “He was just like, ‘Oh no I gotta bail … we gotta run.’ Then he got out of the car and he took off running.”

Bentley said he took off like lightning.

Police say they are still investigating Bentley and Hale’s story.

“We’re still trying to determine whether or not there was a relationship, whether he knew these people, or if he just came in the way of hitchhiking or asking for a ride,” Lennie said.

The men say they were driving from Cedar Rapids and were heading to Des Moines.

The Story County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. So far no charges have been filed.