Police capture escaped state prison inmate

Police capture escaped state prison inmate »Play Video
Matthew Joseph Medlin

PORTLAND, Ore. – More than half-a-dozen police cars converged on the parking lot of a Jack In The Box restaurant at Northeast MLK Boulevard  and Columbia Boulevard Wednesday night, capturing an escaped inmate who'd been on the run since the early afternoon.

Portland police say 30-year-old Matthew Joseph Medlin was due to be released in less than a week on Tuesday, May 6. Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said police don't know why he chose to flee a few days before he was set to be released.

Police say Medlin climbed over the fence of the Columbia River Correctional Institute at 9111 Northeast Sunderland Avenue, near Northeast 33rd Avenue and Marine Drive just after 12:30 p.m.

Police say Medlin was in prison for burglary, sex abuse and assault.

According to police, a corrections officer transporting another prisoner spotted Medlin along Northeast Columbia Boulevard just before 10 p.m. and called police.

Witnesses saw one police cruiser pull up in the restaurant's parking lot, and the officer drew his firearm and ordered Medlin to put his hands up.  Police say Medlin at first refused to follow the officer's orders, but then complied as more police showed up.

Carl Wonderly had just gone through the drive-though and picked up food at the restaurant, when he saw Medlin walking near the front of the store, and police closed in.

"They had weapons drawn," said Wonderly, "but I didn’t know it was the escaped guy."

Wonderly says the scene seemed odd.

"Just kind of weird. I figured with this many people around here, he isn’t gonna get far," he said.

Medlin was taken from the scene by ambulance. Police say he was likely cut by razor wire on the fence he climbed to escape from the Columbia River Correctional Institution earlier in the day.

Police say Medlin will eventually be booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges that haven't been determined yet.