Inmate charged with escape after being accidentally released from jail, sheriff says


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An inmate who was accidentally released from a Virginia jail Tuesday night has been charged with escaping from jail, according to authorities.

“A couple mistakes were made,” leading to the accidental release of Howard Allen Groffel, 51, at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, said Henrico County Sheriff Michael Wade.


Groffel was caught at about 11:45 p.m., in a wooded area about two miles from the jail, after residents called to report that he was knocking on doors and asking for rides, Wade said.

Groffel was behind bars for violating a protective order and intimidating a witness. He will now face a charge of escaping jail, as well other charges.

Authorities with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, New Kent Sheriff’s Office, Henrico Police and Virginia State Police assisted in the search efforts.

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