• Escaped inmate from Connecticut captured at Cherokee Co. gas station

    By: Chris Jose

    Updated:

    CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - Canton police arrested a man who escaped from a Connecticut prison.

    Police say 25-year old Jerry Mercado had been on the run for nearly two weeks.

    Connecticut State Police told local authorities Mercado made a phone call from a Chevron gas station on Wednesday morning. 

    Channel 2's Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose learned a gas station manager helped police capture the fugitive.

    Jennifer Fernandez told Jose that Mercado asked to use the gas station phone to call his mother.

    "When she picked up, he said, 'Hey, mom I'm fine.' She asked him, 'Where are you?' He's like, 'I'm calling from hell.' Then he asked me if these phones are tapped," said Fernandez.

    Fernandez said she had no idea Mercado was on the run, but she did notice his suspicious behavior.

    "He's like, 'I need to get a bus ticket now.' He was telling customers that he was trying to leave," said Fernandez. 

    Officials said Mercado escaped from a medium-security prison in Connecticut. He jumped a fence and hid underneath a maintenance truck, police said.

    Fernandez told Jose she spoke to Mercado for a few minutes at the gas station.

    "He told me he hitchhiked and took a bus," said Fernandez.

    Canton police said Mercado stayed at a warming shelter operated by Action Church Tuesday night and that he had planned to stay there again Wednesday. Police said Mercado's call to his mother led officers to the gas station.

    "As soon as they left and I walked towards my car, I see him standing on the corner," said Fernandez. "I called 911 immediately."

    Jose obtained surveillance video from the gas station. Mercado surrendered peacefully.

    "I'm glad I did call the police. I don't think I'm a hero. I think anybody else would've done it," said Fernandez.

    Mercado was in prison for a burglary sentence.

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