SMETHPORT — A Smethport man was arraigned Friday on charges of making a hole in the fence around McKean County Jail and using it to escape.

Braxton Reese, 27, is charged with escape, flight to avoid apprehension, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief, all second-degree misdemeanors.

According to the criminal complaint, while Reese was incarcerated at the jail, another inmate told him about a “weak spot” in the jail fence. The other inmate had been working on creating a hole there. Reese also began to work on the hole. After finishing the hole in the fence, other inmates “peer pressured him to run,” Reese told police after his capture. Reese went out through the hole in the fence, the complaint stated.

On May 16, state police were notified that Reese had escaped and fled on foot. Three troopers responded to help with the search. Reese was spotted walking along a tree line about 800 yards north of the jail and was taken into custody without incident, the complaint stated.

He spoke to police, and told them he hadn’t had any plan for someone to pick him up, but had hoped to make it to Bradford.

Reese was arraigned before District Judge Bill Todd and remanded to jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. He is scheduled for Central Court on May 25.

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