Updated:ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —
Deputies are still searching for a man who escaped from an Orange County deputy shortly after his arrest around noon Monday, officials said.
Deputies said Willie Hollis went to the courthouse for a violation of probation hearing to discuss his past false imprisonment and grand theft charges.
After being released by the judge, an observant Orange County sheriff’s deputy remembered seeing the 31-year-old driving through the jail parking lot before the hearing and recognized him.
“When he arrived at the jail, they realized this person should not have been driving,” said Jeff Williamson, with the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Office. “He's a habitual traffic offender. He was then arrested for a traffic violation charge.”
Authorities said the unnamed deputy arrested and cuffed Hollis and sat him in the holding area but he quickly fled the compound and then sprinted to a vehicle that appeared to be waiting for him outside, possibly driven by his girlfriend.
“Deputies tried to follow him but apparently weren't able to keep up with him, and [have] not been able to arrest him and he's at large,” Williamson said. “We're looking at known associates, of course. We're looking into whatever background we can because he does have a dangerous history.”
Surveillance video of the escape has been turned over to the Sheriff's Office for review, officials said.
The Sheriff's Office told WFTV it will review its practices to see if improvements can be made when deputies deal with people inside the building.
Williamson said the department is looking into whether the arresting deputy failed to follow procedures.
In the meantime, Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo learned Tuesday deputies are in a heightened state of awareness inside the booking and release center.
Sheriff Jerry Demings told his staff if there is a flaw with security, he wants it fixed, but his office went to great lengths to defend the arresting deputy.
An administrative review of the facts and security video is ongoing.
Hollis, who’s from Palm Beach County, is described as a black man, standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with dreadlocks. He was last seen driving a gray 2008 Nissan Altima with a New York license plate.
Hollis has been arrested for over two-dozen offenses in Orange County dating back several years.
In 2012, Hollis was accused of kidnapping his wife. His criminal history also includes arrests for child abuse, sexual battery and drug possession with the intent to sell.
Anyone with information as to Hollis' whereabouts is asked to contact authorities.