Inmate who escaped transport vehicle in eastern Jefferson County has been caught

A heavy police presence was spotted in eastern Jefferson County near the I-265/I-71 interchange on Thursday morning due to an escaped inmate.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 10:37 AM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Norman Wolfe, an inmate who was on the run for more than two days, has been caught and arrested, according to a Facebook post from LMPD.

Wolfe escaped early Thursday morning while being transported to Trimble County.

The escape of fugitive Norman Wolfe ended as it began, with surprise and danger.

The LMPD Fugitive Unit and SWAT saw Wolfe in the passenger seat of a vehicle on Washington Street east of Campbell Street, according to officials.

Officers made a traffic stop and ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle. Wolfe then slid into the driver’s seat and drove away, LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said.

After a short pursuit, the vehicle was disabled near Brownsboro Road and Lindsay Avenue.

Tang Nguyen owns a business nearby and shares what he experienced at work during the incident.

“We all were working and we saw a cop drive real fast on Brownsboro Road. He was chasing some guy and we didn’t know who he was,” New York Nails Owner Tang Nguyen said. “Next thing you know he turned down Lindsay and crashed over there by the stop sign and the bus stop.”

Tang said this happened at around 10:30 am Saturday and when he heard sirens he thought it was just a normal day but had no clue a chase for a fugitive was underway.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I just thought it was regular like just the cops chasing somebody,” Nguyen said. “But seeing all kinds of cops was kind of scary you know we just had to come take a look.”

Tang said there was easily more than ten cop cars nearby as they worked to get Wolfe into custody.

What looked like broken tail lights could still be seen on Lindsay Avenue near Thorntons.

A reminder of a crazy 48 hour chase that Tang says he’s glad is finally over.

“I’m so happy that law enforcement finally got him into custody. Because we have been kind of nervous,” shared Nguyen. “We asked the customers to keep a look out for anyone to see him and everything but I know this area here we were always making sure that people lock their cars and stuff like that. Keep the doors locked.”

“There were a bunch of us following and we were listening on our scanners,” Clifton resident Abby Inzer said, “and we were like did you hear this part? Did you hear that part? But they do a pretty good job of not giving a lot of details over that.”

A man who knew Wolfe said he did not know him as dangerous or violent.

“He’s definitely always been a good dude,” Robert Potter said.  “He makes everybody laugh. I wouldn’t say he’s a violent dude at all. Because everybody loves him, everybody who knows him loves him for sure.”

His capture was the end of a manhunt that covered miles and captured the public’s imagination.

Wolfe was taken into custody and was transported to UofL Hospital due to some injuries from his escape from custody on Thursday, Mitchell said.

Officials said Wolfe is facing numerous charges and will be taken to Metro Corrections when released from the hospital.

LMPD drew praise on social media with posts.

“Welcome back to Louisville Mr. Wolfe.  We remain the hide and seek champs,” LMPD said on Facebook. “He was in the area of Brownsboro and Lindsay.  Close to the Thorntons where we get our doughnuts.”

“We see a lot of really interesting stuff in our neighborhood,” Inzer said. “And most of it is fairly harmless. But that day I was like oooh. Like, it reminds you no area is immune to the madness that goes on in Louisville.”

(See previous coverage below)

A heavy police presence was spotted in eastern Jefferson County near the I-265/I-71 interchange on Thursday morning due to an escaped inmate, according to Louisville Metro Police.

LMPD confirmed the escape inmate as Norman K. Wolfe, 31, and has charges against him for burglary, fleeing and evading police as well as convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

Around 8:30 a.m., police were informed an individual was running along the lanes of traffic on I-265 wearing orange clothing. Officers were told the individual was an inmate being taken to Trimble County.

Around 8:30 a.m., police were informed an individual was running along the lanes of traffic on I-265 wearing orange clothing, LMPD said.

Court documents state Wolfe was expected to appear in court in Trimble County on Thursday morning.

Trimble County jailer Bobby Temple confirmed Wolfe was being taken into the county when he escaped out of the transport vehicle. It’s believed Wolfe may have gotten out through a window.

Temple said the jail officer was not hurt and is still within Jefferson County.

LMPD and other agencies began searching the surrounding area to find Wolfe, and the department told nearby businesses and schools to take precautions.

Around 11:30 a.m., officers said Wolfe had kidnapped two victims from the 8500 block of Brownsboro Road and were forced to drive the suspect to the area of River Road and Edith Avenue.

The victims were found unharmed and told police the incident happened around 10:20 a.m.

Temple described Wolfe as a “very subdued inmate” and Thursday’s incident was the first trouble report they had on him.

Norman K. Wolfe
Norman K. Wolfe(LMPD)

According to court documents, Wolfe was a convicted felon out of Clark County, Indiana and had been arrested in April in connection to a burglary in the 900 block of Logan Street.

Police said on April 6, Wolfe went to the home of a former partner and started arguing. When a third person approached Wolfe and the victim, Wolfe is said to have pulled a gun from his clothing.

The third party was passed the gun once Wolfe saw officers at the door, and Wolfe ran towards the back of the home.

Wolfe is said to have went to a detached garage less than a mile away in the 1000 block of Kentucky Street and barricaded himself inside.

Documents state Wolfe made threats to LMPD and SWAT, saying he would “kill himself if anyone approached him.”

He was taken into custody a short time later by LMPD, SWAT and the Hostage Negotiation Team.

Police said new charges for Thursday’s incident are expected once Wolfe is taken into custody.

(Story continues below)

Jefferson County Public Schools said kids at several nearby schools were being kept inside until they received an all-clear from police.

The list of schools include Norton Commons Elementary, Norton Elementary, Bowen Elementary, Chancey Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Zachary Taylor Elementary, Kammerer Middle, Westport Middle and Ballard High School.

Police gave the all-clear to JCPS to return to normal operations around 12:30 p.m.

JCPS did confirm the police activity was not connected to any of the district’s schools.

Kentucky Country Day School, a private school in Louisville near the area, also confirmed it is in soft lockdown as requested by LMPD, according to a message sent to school families.

“We are cooperating with and awaiting an all-clear message from law enforcement,” Sam O’Brien, Director of Communications and Marketing with KCD said in the message. “All students and faculty remain safe and indoors on campus.”

LMPD said investigation is ongoing. ATF Louisville said it is also assisting in police in locating the inmate.

This is a developing story.