San Diego inmate escapes via prison fire engine

Thomas Kelley

Donovan State Prison

Thomas Kelley escaped prison, allegedly via a fire truck

Live by being a car thief, arrested for being a car thief... escape by grand theft fire truck? Indeed.

Thomas Francis Kelley rang in the New Year by breaking out of a San Diego state prison by stealing the prison fire engine on New Year’s Day.

Authorities are now seeking the convicted car thief, who had been locked up in the minimum security section of Donovan state prison in November for a parole violation stemming from a 2008 car theft conviction.

The 51-year-old, 5 foot 10 inch, 160 pound Kelley worked as a firefighter at the Otay Mesa prison near the Mexican border, prison spokesman Lt. Patrick Logan told the Associated Press.

Logan says at about the same time Kelley was absent from a 9:30 p.m.headcount, sheriff’s deputies saw a fire engine being driven erratically in Spring Valley, about 10 miles from the prison.

The fire engine was recovered at a 7-Eleven in Spring Valley.

Kelley was expected to be released in December 2013, Logan said.

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