UPDATE: County authorities reported Wednesday afternoon that Samuel Bridges was taken into custody without incident.
SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Authorities in Shelby County are searching for an inmate who stole a county vehicle and escaped from the Shelby County Correctional Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Samuel Bridges, 41, was at a work site at about 2:10 p.m. when he stole a Department of Corrections cargo van, struck a county employee with the vehicle and escaped the facility.
The employee who was hit did not suffer serious injuries.
The inmate was last seen leaving the driveway of 1071 Mullins Station Road, heading north on Sycamore View.
Bridges was serving a two-year sentence for theft after stealing a woman's car in 2016 while at her house to help move a mattress. He was incarcerated on Sept. 13 and was slated for release on April 26, 2021.
His criminal history dates back to 1996 when he was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs. Since then he has been arrested 10 times on charges including burglary and evading arrest.
While Bridges' escape has been a headache for law enforcement, people WREG spoke with didn't seem bothered by the news.
"I ain’t really tripping though because it ain’t bothering me. I mean, an inmate is just a regular person," Clarence Patillo said.
“He ain’t no threat to me," Josh Smith said.
Bridges is described as a 6-foot-3, 210-pound white man with a fair complexion and a light beard.
The stolen cargo van was a white 2013 Ford E350 with license plate number 7894-GB. The asset number on the side of the vehicle is 133742, and the county seal is also on the passenger's and driver's side doors.
On top of the theft charges for which he was incarcerated, Bridges is now facing an escape charge.