Jetson Center for Youth Director Daron Brown was placed on administrative leave Saturday following his fruitless high-speed, two-hour chase Friday night of a vehicle he believed to be holding two youths who escaped from his secure facility, a spokeswoman said.
While off-duty, Brown decided to follow up “on his own” on a tip he overheard on the police radio regarding the location of a vehicle believed to be carrying the escapees, said state Office of Juvenile Justice spokeswoman Jerel Giarrusso.
“Early this morning, we learned that Director Brown had been possibly misled by an informant when he pursued vehicles thought to be carrying our escapees toward New Orleans,” Giarrusso said Saturday in a news release. “Again, he was acting on his own — outside OJJ command — and he has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation.”
Brown alerted assisting law enforcement agencies about 9:30 p.m. that he had spotted the vehicle and was chasing it down Airline Highway toward Glen Oaks. The chase continued down Interstate 10 toward New Orleans at speeds in excess of 90 mph, said Giarrusso.
Brown kept in constant contact with law enforcement authorities while he was chasing the vehicle, though he did not have flashing lights or sirens on the vehicle he was driving, Giarusso said.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office was not involved in the chase, said spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks. Neither was the Baton Rouge Police Department, said spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely.
State troopers stationed in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and St. James parishes activated their emergency flashing lights and sirens to try to catch up with the escapees’ vehicle on the interstate, but never did, said spokesman Trooper Russell Graham.
Brown did not respond to requests for comment.
Giarrusso said Saturday the escapees were still believed to be in Baton Rouge.
The escapees have been identified as Demonte Washington, 15, and Clarence McWilliams, 18. Both are from Baton Rouge and considered dangerous, Hicks has said.
Washington, convicted on a charge of burglary of an inhabited dwelling, is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 162 pounds. McWilliams, convicted on charges of simple burglary and carjacking, is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds.