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Escaped Kentucky inmate opts for the big house over the big chill

AP / Kentucky Department of Corrections

Robert Vick, who authorities say escaped from a minimum-security prison in Kentucky for a short time.

There’s no escaping the polar vortex. Not even for an escaped prisoner.

A Kentucky inmate managed to get out of a minimum-security prison on Sunday — and turned himself in the next day at a motel a few miles away, explaining that he wanted to get out of the frigid air.

It was 3 degrees in Lexington, with a wind chill of 17 below, when Robert Vick turned himself in at the Sunset Motel and Restaurant. Maurice King, manager of the 25-room motel, told NBC News that Vick definitely looked like he’d had enough.

“He was frozen,” King said. “He walked in and knocked on my door and told me to call the law on him.”

When the manager called the authorities, “I don’t think they even believed me,” he said. “I had to call again.”

Vick, 42, was serving six years at Blackburn Correctional Complex for burglary and possession of a forged instrument. He was due to go before a parole board in less than two months, said Lisa Lamb, a state corrections spokeswoman.

The escapee was wearing a light prison-issue jacket when he turned up, the manager said, and explained that he had spent the night at an abandoned house down the road.

The fire department treated Vick for hypothermia and returned him to the prison, King said. He will be prosecuted for escape and could have five years added to his sentence, Lamb said.

“He won’t come back in eligible to be at a minimum-security prison,” she said. “He’ll have to serve it behind a fence.”

A Kentucky prison convict on the run turns himself in to escape the brutally cold temperatures. WLEX's Hanna Mordoh reports.