IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - An Ionia County Jail inmate was apprehended hours after walking away from a road commission crew on Thursday.
Michael Bridinger fled the work crew near M-66 and Riverside Drive in the afternoon. The 49-year-old was taken back into custody without incident just before 9 p.m., according to Ionia County officials.
He was found in a wooded area near Riverside Drive just east of Ionia after police received a report from "alert citizens" that they had seen him.
Bridinger now faces new felony charges for the escape, according to the Ionia County Sheriff's Department. He will be arraigned Friday on those charges.
Bridinger was originally jailed and sentenced on Tuesday to nine months for manufacturing marijuana.
The Hubbardston resident was not considered a danger as authorities searched for him, though he has 12 previous criminal convictions. A Michigan State Police helicopter and K-9 units concentrated their efforts on the southeast side of Ionia between Kingston Road and Kelsey Highway.
Some schools in the area were put on precautionary lockdowns. At the end of the school day Ionia County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia Batista told 24 Hour News 8 that students who usually ride buses were taken home. The parents of students who walk to school were called, and if the parents couldn't be reached then their children were taken home once buses returned from their regular routes.
Bridinger's escape prompted the Ionia Parks and Recreation Department to cancel all night activities, including gymnastics and youth soccer.
John Gibbons, who lives behind the road commission yard, was at work when his wife called him.
"She said our oldest son, John, was actually out here playing and heard some rustling up the hill here," Gibbons told 24 Hour News 8. "That's when he kind of reported it to her, as it was some kind of deer or something. But very quickly she found out that's probably what it was, was this guy."
24 Hour News 8's Joe LaFurgey contributed to this report.
One person is dead after firefighters found the victim's body inside a condominium complex in Kalamazoo Township that was on fire Wednesday afternoon.
Those receiving the 2013 White House holiday card will see a design made by a Grand Rapids artist.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has condemned GOP National Committeeman Dave Agema's statement that gay people are seeking health insurance for same-sex partners because they are dying of AIDS and want free medical care.