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Man who escaped psychiatric hospital in Roanoke County arrested after stealing farm truck

VSP said Gregory had been at Catawba Hospital for six days

A man who escaped from a local psychiatric hospital is now in custody
A man who escaped from a local psychiatric hospital is now in custody

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va.UPDATE

Virginia State Police said the man who escaped a psychiatric hospital in Roanoke County is now in custody for stealing a farm truck.

10 News was able to speak to John Noel, a Lieutenant with VSP, who said Gregory was committed to Catawba Hospital involuntarily for six days before he had escaped.

Due to the heavy police presence in the area and K-9 assistance, units were able to locate James Gregory and the stolen vehicle at 4965 Catawba Creek Road. Authorities were able to deploy spike strips to disable to vehicle’s tires, leading to a short chase on foot before police got to him.

Gregory was taken into custody without further incident and will be charged with the escape and for the stolen vehicle.

Noel also said police believe Gregory stole the farm-use vehicle from a resident and went inside someone’s house in the area. However, he did not harm anyone throughout the course of his escape.

According to Noel, a citizen call was instrumental in locating Gregory. A resident called 911 after being alerted to the situation when Roanoke County sent an alert via reverse 911.

Noel told 10 News that it’s not up to VSP to determine whether Gregory is admitted back into Catawba Hospital or is placed in jail.

Shayne Dwyer WSLS 10 News is on the scene in Roanoke County where police found the Catawba Hospital escapee.

Posted by WSLS 10 / WSLS.com on Thursday, February 11, 2021

ORIGINAL STORY

Virginia State Police is currently trying to locate a man who escaped Catawba Hospital in Roanoke County on Thursday.

34-year-old James Ray Gregory, of Pulaski, jumped from a second-floor window at about 7:24 p.m.

Police described Gregory as a heavily tattooed 6-foot tall man who weighs about 185 pounds and has a thin goatee.

He was last seen wearing an orange and white prison uniform and might not have a shirt on.

Authorities said there’s currently a heavy police presence in the Catawba area of Roanoke County.

Anyone who makes contact with Gregory should use extreme caution and call VSP at 1-800-542-5959.


About the Authors:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.