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Escapee from Vandalia prison captured less than 4 miles away

The escape occurred at the rear of the faciity when the inmate was returning from the commissary

By Carlos Sadovi
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO, Ill. — A Chicago man who escaped from a downstate prison was captured this morning, walking on a gravel road near Interstate 70 less than four miles from the prison, officials said.

Marcus Battice, 21, escaped from the Vandalia Correctional Center, about 245 miles south of Chicago, around 2 p.m. Tuesday as he returned from the commissary, officials said.

He was spotted around 7:30 a.m. walking north of a gravel frontage road along I-70, about 3 1/2 miles from the prison, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was taken into custody by the state police without incident, it said.

The department said Battice would be examined at the prison medical unit, then transferred to the maximum security prison in Pontiac.

Battice was in prison after being convicted last year of unlawful possession/driver of a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to four years in prison and was expected to be eligible for parole on Jan. 18, 2015, officials said.

The escape occurred at the rear of the prison as Battice was returning from the commissary, according to the corrections department. Battice had been classified as a “very low” risk and “not a likely escapee.”

More than a year ago, an inmate walked away from the Robinson Correctional Center while working on the prison grounds outside the fence. Battice was inside the fence at the Vandalia Correctional Center, officials said.