Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Daring jailbreak didn't last long for Quebec pair

Inmates used helicopter to escape

  • Print

CHERTSEY, Que. -- A dramatic daylight jailbreak involving two Quebec inmates climbing a rope into a hovering helicopter swiftly escalated into a large police operation on Sunday, which saw both men tracked down hours after they fled.

Just before 8:30 p.m. E.T., police confirmed they had arrested Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and two other suspects.

An hour later, police said they had located the second escapee, Danny Provencal, and had set up a perimeter around the area where he was found.

Much of the action took place in Chertsey, Que., located about 50 kilometres north of the jail in Saint-Jerome from where the inmates made their brazen escape.

"We have a lot of officers working on the site," said provincial police spokesman Benoit Richard.

Police wouldn't give any details about how the arrests were made or about the charges facing those who were arrested.

"They are all being transported to the nearest police station to be questioned by the investigators," Richard said of those in custody.

"They will be due in court (this) morning."

Officers had blocked off the main road in Chertsey, not far from the village of St-Marguerite, and were pulling over cars Sunday night.

Earlier on Sunday, authorities had said 36-year-old Hudon-Barbeau and 33-year-old Provencal had broken out of the jail by clambering up a rope into a waiting helicopter.

"The suspects just took the rope in their hands and started fleeing," Richard recalled the jail's warden saying.

Police had tracked down the helicopter about 85 kilometres away in Mont-Tremblant, but only the chopper's pilot was still at the scene.

The pilot was taken to an area hospital where investigators were expected to speak with him. Police said it was too early to know what role the pilot had played in the escape.

Richard said the pilot was treated for shock and is considered an important witness in the case.

Hours after the jailbreak, a Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, received a call from a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau, who said he was "ready to die" as he tried to evade police.

"The way they're treating me in there, it's unreal," the man told the radio station. "They won't let me be. They put me back in prison for nothing."

Authorities did not immediately speak to the claims made in the radio station interview.

According to a provincial police release, Hudon-Barbeau was arrested in November 2012 on two firearm related charges and associating with people who have a criminal record. The arrest came as part of an investigation into a double murder in Quebec's Laurentians.

Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager who oversees the Saint-Jerome jail said he'd never seen anything like Sunday's dramatic escape in more than three decades on the job.

Galarneau said there are no security measures in place at the jail to prevent a helicopter from swooping down from above.

"As far as I know, it's a first in Quebec," he told reporters at the scene. "It's exceptional."

While the tactic may have been a first for Quebec, using a chopper to break out of jail has a long and colourful history, and not just in the movies.

A New York businessman, Joel David Kaplan, used a chopper to escape from a Mexican jail in 1971, and went on to write a book about it. Pascal Payet, a French prisoner, used a helicopter to escape on three occasions, only to be caught by authorities every time.

The facility at the centre of Sunday's escapade in Quebec is a provincial detention centre with a maximum-security wing.

The Saint-Jerome jail, located some 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago.

In that incident, police had been asked to secure the outside of the prison, which holds about 480 inmates, and facility staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2013 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A gosling stares near water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google