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Man who unknowingly gave escaped Weber County Jail inmate a ride speaks

Posted at 7:47 PM, Mar 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-01 21:51:39-05

WEBER COUNTY, Utah – After a 48-hour manhunt, 40-year-old Kaleb Wiewandt is back behind bars after being arrested in southern Idaho on Friday.

Wiewandt is accused of shaving his head to look like an another Weber County Jail inmate, Matthew Belnap, who was scheduled to be released Tuesday.

He was also in possession of Belnap's jail ID card, the news release said, and he also provided jail staff with Belnap's full name, date of birth and Social Security number from memory. He walked out of the jail instead of Belnap.

A multi-agency strike team had tracked a vehicle that Wiewandt was a passenger in to southern Idaho, where Idaho State troopers and Elmore County Deputies executed a traffic stop and took him into custody.

While the U.S. Marshals Office wouldn’t confirm details, Thomas Hooley has reached out to FOX 13 saying he was the man driving Wiewandt.

Hooley answered an ad on CraigsList to give a man named "Jason" a ride to Oregon — now he says he would have never taken the job if he knew who he was actually driving.

“Troopers all surrounded my car, I pulled off hit the hazards, shut the car off, threw the keys on top, my wallet on top of the car, got out, dropped to my knees because they had assault rifles and handguns pointed right at me,” Hooley described.

Hooley is homeless and lives out of his car. He has a GoFundMe account to raise funds for a place to live, which can be found by clicking HERE.

Belnap was charged with obstructing justice, along with aiding and abetting an escape from official custody. Court documents state that on surveillance video, Belnap can be seen lying on his bed and not getting up when he was called over the speaker system to collect his property for his release. The documents also state that he helped Wiewandt shave his head the day before the escape.