Escapee caught fleeing to wife's NW Side home

June 20, 2012 9:24:31 AM PDT
A prison inmate is back in police custody after he escaped from a hospital on Chicago's West Side.

Alex Bell, 23, spent about seven hours on the run before police finally caught up with him Wednesday morning.

He was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on the Northwest Side at Agatite and Long around 9 a.m.

A spokesperson for Cook County Hospitals said the escape took place around 2 a.m. when Bell was taken to the E.R. complaining of chest pains. He was treated and deemed to be OK, but apparently he escaped when his guard went to the bathroom.

Because Bell is part of a work-release program at a halfway house, he's considered low risk and wasn't shackled or handcuffed.

Marshals say Bell was trying to get to his wife's home about a block away when he was caught but ran when he was spotted approaching his wife's building and then tried to hide inside a nearby apartment building.

"I heard them shouting that he's in the basement, meaning the basement of where I live here. They were clamoring up the porch, and I guess they found him in between the first and second floor. Because that's when I heard they got him," said Christine Cebulak.

The marshals say Bell hopped a train and then hitchhiked to get from the hospital to his wife's neighborhood. They also say they've learned he and his wife both have outstanding warrants in Michigan as well, although it's not clear whether she was taken into custody as well.

Bell was arrested in May of 2011 and is serving a six-year sentence for residential burglary.


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