HOFFMAN — A convicted burglar housed at Morrison Correctional Institution clambered over two razor wire-topped fences early Friday, flaying his skin and experiencing freedom for about four hours.
Department of Corrections bloodhounds found Nickolas Statkus, 23, of Cumberland County inside the cab of a truck for sale alongside U.S. 1, bleeding and drowsy. A trail of his blood led north toward Hoffman.
“When we found him, he was about half asleep and half unconscious,” prison administrator Pete Buchholtz said Friday. “He was bleeding. You (could) tell he was was walking down U.S. 1 because there were drips of blood.
“We sent him to Richmond Memorial for treatment, and he’s back here now.” Buchholtz said medical personal stitched and stapled shut several dozen wounds from the razor wire.
When found, Buchholtz said, Statkus was 8.3 miles from the prison.
Buchholtz and Chief Deputy Mark Gulledge of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office gave the following account:
At 1:15 a.m., a door alarm on one of the prison’s minimum-security units began wailing.
Morrison employees put their escape-response plans into place, calling the state Department of Corrections and local law enforcement for help in tracking the escapee. The DOC personnel brought tracking dogs with them.
About four hours later, bloodhounds found Statkus curled up in the cab of a white Chevrolet pickup for sale on the west side of U.S. 1, slightly north of Rockingham Speedway.
Statkus had lost a good deal of blood. Authorities called an ambulance, which took Statkus to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Richmond. He was treated and released back to corrections authorities.
“I asked him why, and he said, ‘I don’t know,’” Buchholtz said. “It’ll take him a little bit of time to heal up, but he’ll be all right. The good thing is that it wasn’t prolonged.”
Statkus entered Morrison on Aug. 23, 2017, to serve a term for first-degree burglary and had been scheduled for release on April 4, 2021. As a result of the escape, his release is likely to be delayed.
The Sheriff’s Office also will charge Statkus with breaking and entering a motor vehicle, Gulledge said.
The most recent escape from Morrison was in November 2014, when Jacob Pilkington and Frankie Noles climbed a fence late on a Sunday night. Pilkington was caught the following Friday in the town of Marion and Noles was chased down the following day in a McDowell County junkyard.
Two months prior to the duo’s escape, a $4.5 million security system went operational.
Potential escapees first have to make it past a 10-feet interior “shaker fence” with a single strand of razor wire across the top, then three rolls of razor wire extending five feet from the ground and a 12-foot-high fence covered with razor wire from top to bottom.
William R. Toler contributed to this story. Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]