Hearing Set for Next Week for Man Who Escaped Work Release, Caused Shutdown of Interstate 80

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – A hearing is scheduled for next week for a man who reportedly walked away from a work-release program in Jefferson County then caused a closure of Interstate 80 in Clarion County.

Court documents indicate 27-year-old Ronald James Clark Jr., of McDonald, Pa., is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, on one second-degree misdemeanor count of Escape.

The charge stems from an incident that occurred in late May.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, around 9:00 a.m. on May 22, Punxsutawney-based State Police received a call from a Jefferson County Probation Officer who reported that Ronald James Clark Jr. who was currently housed in the Jefferson County Jail and was on work release, employed by a Brookville area business, was required to return to the jail by 3:00 p.m., but on May 21, Clark left work early and failed to report back to the jail as required.

According to the complaint, Clarion-based State Police then located Clark on the Interstate 80 eastbound bridge at mile marker 61 in Monroe Township, Clarion County, after receiving calls about an individual on the bridge.

According to police, troopers were dispatched to the Interstate 80 Clarion River Bridge around 2:15 p.m. on May 21 after receiving a report of a man preparing to jump off of the bridge.

Interstate 80 was closed in both directions between Exit 60 (Shippenville) and Exit 62 (Clarion) for several hours as a result of the incident.

Clark was then taken into custody and transported back to the Jefferson County Jail.

The complaint states Clark violated his work release conditions by failing to report back to the jail as required.

The charge was filed through Magisterial District Judge Gregory M Bazylak’s office on May 22.

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