Search continues for Texas inmate who escaped prison bus
A $22,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of Gonzalo Lopez
CENTERVILLE, Texas — Authorities were searching Friday for a Texas inmate serving a life sentence for murder who escaped from a transport bus after stabbing the driver.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, escaped custody Thursday after he overpowered the driver, whose injuries were not considered life-threatening, said Jason Clark, chief of staff for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The department said Friday that a $22,500 reward was being offered for information leading to the capture of Lopez.
Lopez was convicted in 2006 of killing a man along the Texas-Mexico border.
Lopez escaped in Leon County, a rural area between Dallas and Houston. Classes in the nearby Centerville Independent School District were canceled Friday as a precaution.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office said several agencies were involved in the search, including aircraft from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Sixteen prisoners were aboard the bus, but no one else escaped, Clark said.
Leon County has roughly 16,000 residents and is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the state's prison headquarters.
Prison records show Lopez was most recently being held at a lockup in Gatesville, more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from where authorities were searching.
Other prisoners in Texas have also escaped transport vehicles over the years. Among the most recent was in 2019 when an MMA fighter suspected of killing two people fled from a van and was missing for nine hours. Authorities said he was eventually found hiding in a trash can.
A $22,500 reward is being offered for info leading to the capture of escapee Gonzalo Lopez. Please contact TDCJ OIG CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171 or your local law enforcement agency at 911. You can also leave a tip via the website at https://t.co/ZnIov8pswF pic.twitter.com/FidkMlT5ZQ— TDCJ (@TDCJ) May 14, 2022