A motorist's alert helped police land an escaped convict back in prison.
We have new details tonight on how a prisoner walked out of an Upper Peninsula prison and how the motorist's call played a big part in the capture.
"The prisoner took steps to conceal his identity, and was allowed to leave the facility, that whole matter is under investigation for obvious reasons," explains Tom Mackie, Deputy Warden at Chippewa Correctional Facility.
52 year-old Philip Malugen is serving a life sentence at Chippewa Correctional Facility for first degree sex charges and has been in prison since 1987. Wednesday around noon, he passed through two security check-points with an altered ID and was free for about an hour.
"The reality of it is we have to be on our jobs 100 percent of the time, one percent can have drastic consequences," says Mackie.
Corrections officers didn't know Malugen was gone for that hour. It was a fast-thinking motorist driving south on I-75 that set off the alarm. She saw a man walking, in nasty conditions along I-75 near Exit 378, the exit of the prison, and she knew something wasn't right, so she called police. Malugen struggled with officersand was tased.
After Michigan State Police made the arrest, they didn't know who it was, so they contacted the Michigan Department of Corrections. Both Kinross and Chippewa Correctional Facility were put on immediate lockdown. Corrections officers went in, did an emergency count, and that's when they determined the prisoner had escaped.
â??We take these matters very seriously, and are taking steps to correct it immediately," says Mackie.
"The sirens were going for a good 5-6 minutes before they stopped," says John Kennedy, a Kincheloe resident.
Kennedy lives near the two major prisons in town and told me he heard word of an escape, went inside his home, and locked his doors.
â??Every once in a while, you have to deal with the sirens, somebody breaking out, somebody doing something, it doesn't happen that often, you know, I can probably count on one hand in 16 years Iâ??ve been here," says Kennedy.
But prison officials say if it wasn't for that call, and quick action they train for all of the time, it could be a different story today.
Malugen is back in prison tonight and he's now on lock down as the investigation into exactly what happened moves forward.
As far as the employees at the check-points, we asked what happened to them, and the facility told us "it's part of the investigation."