Jail escape started in shower stallTwo inmates hid, then scrambled out main door.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
LAKE ANDES — The two men who escaped Wednesday from the Charles Mix County Jail did so by hiding in a shower stall prior to lockdown.
Edward “Eddie” Antelope, 34, and Donald Cournoyer, 28, hid together in an enclosed shower stall with a curtain while officers locked other prisoners in their individual cells, Sheriff Randy Thaler said Thursday in an interview with The Daily Republic.
The officers followed typical procedure, which includes leaving the main door to the cell block open while completing lockdown, Thaler said.
Antelope and Cournoyer saw their chance and ran out the main door.
“It was instantaneous,” Thaler said. “The officers saw them run out.”
The two men have prior histories of escape, so they “know how to hide,” Thaler added.
Antelope led authorities on a chase in Charles Mix County in 2008, from which he ultimately escaped and was then apprehended a week later in Wagner. During that 2008 chase, he was accused of using a vehicle to try and run a police officer off the road.
Both men are American Indians with brown eyes and short brown hair.
Antelope is 6 feet 1 inch tall and Cournoyer is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
Antelope has warrants out for tribal charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, aggravated assault and grand theft. He also has a state detainer for absconding from parole.
He is considered dangerous. Thaler said he isn’t sure if Antelope is carrying a weapon.
Cournoyer has pending state criminal charges of escape for failing to return from work release and a detainer for parole violation. He also has tribal charges of huffing and obstruction, and two warrants out for his arrest.
Antelope and Cournoyer remained at large as of Thursday afternoon, and several law enforcement agencies were partnering to find them, including the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
Lt. Alan Welsh, of the Sioux Falls Highway Patrol Division, said the Charles Mix Sheriff’s Department requested the highway patrol help with the search.
“If we get the request for assistance, then we respond with manpower,” Welsh said. “Based on the information we have, we’ll work the highways where the subjects are trying to get out of the county.”
The Highway Patrol has also been working on call-in leads from area residents regarding the escape. Welsh said many leads are “partial truths” and “several are not accurate.”
To allow the Charles Mix Sheriff’s Office to continue searching, the Highway Patrol sorts through what’s accurate and what’s not, Welsh said.
Troopers in the area report directly to the Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Office, but Welsh remains informed on the situation, he said.
The Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to call (605) 487-7625 or their local law enforcement with any information on the escapees.