25.02.2024

Inmate manages to escape Oregon mental hospital and drive off in hijacked van despite being in full shackles

An attempted murder suspect described as “extremely dangerous” managed to escape from an Oregon mental hospital and drive off in a hijacked van – despite being in full shackles.

Oregon State Police said on Thursday that Christopher Pray had been newly transferred to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem when he broke out and drove off in a stolen van.

Mr Pray, who was previously charged with attempted murder and other crimes, was last seen driving south on Interstate 5, the Oregon State Police said on Facebook, calling him a “dangerous escapee.”

The state police statement said they were notified Wednesday night of the escape.

He “eluded law enforcement southbound on Interstate 5,” the state police said, without specifying how he managed to escape despite being “fully restrained with leg shackles, a belly chain, handcuffs, and a restraint connecting all three together.”

Mr Pray faced charges including attempted murder, robbery, assault and felon in possession of a firearm in Multnomah County Circuit Court, where Portland is located, but was sent on Wednesday to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem after he was found unfit to proceed with trial, according to court records.

Mr Pray, who was wearing a white T-shirt, maroon sweatpants and black rubber slippers, is considered extremely dangerous, the police said.

The public is urged to call 911 and report any sightings of him or the white 2016 Dodge Caravan he was driving.

Oregon State Hospital spokesperson Amber Shoebridge said Pray had “an altercation with another patient” shortly after he was admitted and needed to be taken away for treatment, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

When he was brought back to the Oregon State Hospital that night, Pray was “able to gain control of the van and drive away,” OPB reported.

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