A 20-year-old jail inmate escaped Thursday from a work assignment in Ojai but was captured minutes later after an off-duty sheriff's deputy spotted the getaway car being driven erratically, authorities said.
Following a brief chase, Ronald Franklin was arrested about 9:30 a.m. on California 33 at Parkview Drive by Deputy Scott Baugher, who had spotted Franklin's girlfriend swerving in her Geo Metro, authorities said.
Franklin had telephoned his girlfriend, Brandi Patricia Miranda, 24, and arranged to have her pick him up while he was on work detail Thursday at the Oak View Community Center in Ojai, authorities said.
Franklin's disappearance from the crew was immediately noticed and a broadcast about the escape was sent out to patrol cars, authorities said.
Baugher was unaware of the escape and chased the car because of the dangerous driving, sheriff's spokesman Eric Nishimoto said.
When he was taken into custody, Franklin was wearing blue inmate pants stamped with the initials of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and an inmate wristband.
Franklin, who is serving time for a narcotics probation violation and now faces up to a year extra in jail, was booked on suspicion of escape.
Miranda was arrested and booked on suspicion of aiding and abetting an escape. Both were being held on $50,000 bail.