Guards shuttling inmates wearing street clothes inexplicably left eight of them alone in their transport van — with the keys — frustrating a local police chief called out to round up the prisoners after the vehicle vanished.
Six of the inmates were quickly back in police custody Tuesday afternoon.
Two inmates accused of breaking out of the van's locked compartment and driving it a short distance before fleeing on foot were captured about 6 p.m.
Lester Burns and Michael Coleman were taken into custody in Weatherford, according to Assistant Police Chief Louis Flowers.
The men were found virtually across the street from where they had left the van.
The guards, employed by Prisoner Transportation Services of Nashville, Tenn., had stopped in Weatherford to take one or two inmates to a hospital when the prisoners fell ill.
Flowers said the guards left the inmates alone in a locked compartment in the van.
Two prisoners kicked out the partition to escape.
The inmates were from jails in the western and northern United States and were being transported among agencies in the same regions of the country.
Two inmates ran away while the other six stayed nearby.
Dogs and helicopters were summoned to help search for Coleman and Burns.
OHP said officers recovered a 12-gauge shotgun that had been inside the vehicle.
No injuries were reported.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford was locked down for two hours while police searched for the two inmates.
The school lifted the lock down just before 4 p.m.