Inmate escapes from work detail

Published 6:21 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

Authorities in the tri-state area are searching for 37-year-old Rocky Howerton of Middlesboro, who escaped from a work detail Thursday afternoon.

Howerton jumped out of a work truck near the 25th Street and Highway 441 intersection in Middlesboro and fled on foot, authorities said.

Middlesboro authorities immediately began searching for him but were unable to locate him.

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Officials said Howerton was in jail for about 30 days on a charge of failure to comply with a court order. Bell County Jailer Gary Ferguson said he does not understand why Howerton fled while facing such a short sentence.

Due to escaping during work detail, Howerton now faces a felony escape charge, which could add significant time to his current sentence.

Ferguson said that Howertson is most likely in the Middlesboro area and is not considered to be a danger to anyone.

Howerton is 5’6” and weighs about 150 pounds. He has black hair and a black goatee.

Authorities ask anyone who sees him to contact 911 or local law enforcement.