CLEARWATER -- A federal inmate facing a return to Ohio to face charges in the death of a baby tried to escape from the Pinellas County jail Wednesday.
25-year-old Cody Jondreau didn't make it very far, but farther than most. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri calls it the most significant escape attempt at the jail in about 25 years.
According to Gualtieri, Jondreau was outside in the recreation area for "C" wing, the highest security section of the jail, Wednesday morning around 10. A deputy monitoring the area from a catwalk went inside for a phone call. At that point, Jondreau entered a restricted area of the yard, and used a door handle, awning, and conduit to hoist himself to the roof.
Jondreau then took off his shirt and managed to scale two razor wire fences, making it out of the jail parking lot and onto the courthouse lot. He ran across the lot and deputies chased him down at a nearby business, where he was tased. Jondreau also had a taser probe and cuts.
When questioned, Gualtieri says Jondreau told deputies he just didn't want to stay in jail, and he knew he was facing a lot of time behind bars. His only getaway plan was to hire an Uber to drive him to Panama. Gualtieri says Jondreau had no local contacts and didn't know the area.
Gualtieri says procedures and actions will be reviewed.
Jondreau was in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after being picked up in Polk County on a murder warrant from Ohio. He's accused in the death of a nine week old baby last September in Williams County near Toledo, and ended up in Florida after escaping in Ohio. The Marshals were due to take him back next week.
Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff via WFLA