Inmate attacked, stole vehicle from CO in escape thwarted by police
Dalton Ayers was working outside with other inmates when he suddenly attacked a supervising correctional officer
By Payne Ray
CLERMONT, Fla. — An inmate escaped from the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections Thursday afternoon and stole an FDC vehicle on the way, the department said in a release to the media.
According to the FDC report, the attempted escapee is 23-year-old Dalton Ayers, who reportedly managed to temporarily escape custody while on an outdoor work detail. He was recaptured just before 2 p.m. by Leesburg police officers.
The FDC report said that Ayers was working outside with other inmates in Orange County, near the intersection of North John Young Parkway and East West Expressway, when he suddenly attacked a supervising correctional officer.
The correctional officer reportedly suffered only minor injuries.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the escape attempt, shed extra light on the details of the escape.
In a statement to the press, the OCSO said Ayers struck the correctional officer with a shovel shortly before 12:52 p.m. He then hopped in the officer's car and attempted his escape.
An OCSO helicopter quickly spotted the car and tracked it for law enforcement.
Ayers' escape attempt was thwarted about an hour after it began when he crashed the car in Okahumpka at the intersection of County Road 48 and County Road 470.
Ayers was shortly after arrested by Leesburg police.
Prior to his escape attempt, Ayers was serving a sentence of one year, two months and 10 days, according to Florida records, for possession of ammunition as a convicted felon, and petit theft.
According to an arrest affidavit from the Mount Dora Police Department, Ayers' inciting crime for his arrest was the theft. An officer was called by the store's loss prevention staff to search for a man spotted stealing clothing.
When they arrived, they reportedly found Ayers wearing some of the clothing and carrying a duffel bag with more. Ayers was arrested for stealing around $365 of merchandise.
He was charged with carrying ammunition because of a single .45 caliber bullet found during a search.
Ayers told the officer it was his "lucky round," the affidavit said, but that round tacked on the additional felony possession charge.
Ayers was convicted in May.
Prior to his latest arrest, Ayers has served multiple prior sentences dating back to 2017 for crimes he reportedly committed as early as 2015. Those included grand theft and burglary of an occupied dwelling.
His release date for his latest sentence was March 14, 2021, just three and a half months from the date of his escape attempt.
Further details about new charges were not immediately available Friday.
"These types of escapes are extremely rare," the FDC said in a statement released Thursday. "The Department is committed to ensuring all inmates are supervised appropriately and security protocols at all facilities are followed to prevent escapes."
(c)2020 Daily Commercial, Leesburg, Fla.