Crash leads police to missing teen, escaped rapist in Alabama


Left: Escaped convict John Gillespie.
Right: Missing teen, now in police custody.

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — A registered sex offender who scaled a jail wall to escape was recaptured after a car wreck Monday, and authorities said he was accompanied by a teenage girl who disappeared the day after he broke out.

John Kaleb Gillespie, 30, was arrested following a crash on Interstate 459 in suburban Birmingham, police said. He had escaped from the Morgan County Jail eight days earlier.

Gillespie was accompanied by a 16-year-old girl who left her home in Moulton the day after Gillespie escaped and hadn’t been seen since, authorities said. Sheriff’s officials have said the teen has ties to Gillespie, but they haven’t explained further and the circumstances of her disappearance were unclear.

The man pleaded guilty to second-degree rape in 2009, and he has multiple other arrests that led to a jail term. He previously wrote a judge proclaiming his innocence.

Mike Swafford, a spokesman for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, said police from Hoover and Bessemer attempted to stop a vehicle and a chase followed. The car crashed near an exit on I-459 and the man ran away, Swafford said.

Gillespie was apprehended moments later, Swafford said, and both he and the girl were taken into custody.

Information from: The Birmingham News,

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