Search expands for escaped Berkeley Co. inmate

Sanders (Provided)

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- James Sanders, 39, escaped from the Berkeley County Detention Center around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. According to Dan Moon with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office Sanders is charged with criminal domestic violence.

"He was in our jail being held on a $42,000 bond," Moon said.

Moon says the sheriff's office is still trying to determine how Sanders walked away from the jail so easily.

His escape resulted in a lockdown of Berkeley High School. Several other agencies were called into assist in the search early onincluding the Moncks Corner Police Department and the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office.

According to Moon, they received a tip Sanders flagged down a willing motorist who picked Sanders up and dropped him off in downtown Charleston. Charleston Police and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office are also assisting with the search.

Jack Gooch of Moncks Corner says Sanders also tried to hitch a ride from him shortly after he escaped from the jail.

"He's kneeling down just beyond where my trash can and he asks me to give him a ride down the road. I said I couldn't do it because I had something else to do and he says 'ok, thank you,'" Gooch said.

On Thursday afternoon, there was heavy police presence along Main Streetthat's in the location where Gooch says Sanders approached him and noticed something strange about him. "I just happened to notice he was barefooted, wearing swim trunks, and a t-shirt that kind of looked odd."

The alleged victim in the incident involving Sanders has been placed in protective custody.

Police are using K-9 and a helicopter to search for the inmate. He should be considered dangerous.

Moon said a reverse 911 call went out to notify residents of the danger, and that they know of several locations where Sanders may have tried to seek refuge.