Handcuffed man escapes police in south Alabama, drives away in cop car

Jesse James Russell (Mobile County Sheriff's Office)

PRICHARD, Ala. (AP) - Authorities in southern Alabama say they're searching for a man who drove away in a police car while he was handcuffed.

Interim Prichard police Chief Dorothy Ferrell says 23-year-old Jessie James Russell was under investigation for drug offenses Tuesday and had been placed in the back of a police car while officers investigated his vehicle.

Officials say Russell was able to reposition the handcuffs from behind his back, climb into the front seat and drive away in the squad car.

Authorities say Russell nearly hit an officer as he fled the scene.

Police say Russell is wanted on charges of possession of a controlled substance and escape.