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Westmoreland man who escaped from Torrance State Hospital captured

| Thursday, July 11, 2013, 10:24 a.m.

A man who escaped from Torrance State Hospital in Derry Township, sparking an enormous manhunt, was captured Wednesday night, state police said.

Steven Michael Barron, 21, of Crabtree was found walking along a street in Derry Borough, Trooper Steve Limani said on Thursday.

Barron, who was in the hospital under a court commitment, escaped about 6:10 p.m. Tuesday by scaling a chain-link fence and running toward a wooded area and railroad tracks near the psychiatric facility on Route 217, police said.

“We received information (Wednesday) that he was staying in an abandoned house in the Hillview area, a patch town outside of Derry,” Limani said.

“We went there, but no luck. Later in the evening, we learned that someone fitting his description was seen walking in Derry Borough,” he said.

Officers confronted the man, who first gave false information, Limani said.

“But the jig was up, and we took him into custody,” he said.

Police from Derry borough and the township assisted with the capture, Limani said.

Other than escaping from the hospital, Barron committed no other crimes, he said.

Trooper John Zalich said on Tuesday that Barron has a “volatile personality and is proficient with knives.”

Barron was arrested on March 1 by Greensburg City Police for simple assault and harassment, court records show. In November, he was cited by Westmoreland County Park Police for disorderly conduct and making an obscene gesture, and state police charged him with harassment in a Unity incident.

Court records show Barron was arraigned on Thursday morning before District Judge Mark Bilik on the escape charge.

Barron was unable to post $10,000 bond and was placed in the Westmoreland County Prison.

He faces a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

In addition to state police, Blairsville police, Latrobe and Ligonier Township police departments' canine units, Norfolk Southern Railroad police, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department blood hound team conducted a three-hour search for Barron on Tuesday night.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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