KYLIE Walker and her family were travelling home to Rockhampton along the Bruce Hwy when they came face to face with three prison escapees - literally.
Ms Walker, her partner and two young children had just passed Miriam Vale when they saw Jacob Allen, Craig Jackson and Claude Cobbo, who were travelling in an allegedly stolen 2009 red Kia Cerato, heading towards them on the wrong side of the road.
Ms Walker said it took a while to register what was happening.
"They were out on the wrong side of the road with the cop cars following," she said.
"We didn't realise what was going on till a few minutes later.
"We passed some police cars before seeing the red car (fugitives' car) and in hindsight were surprised that they were not warning motorists."
The trio, who escaped from Townsville Correctional Farm at Stuart on Wednesday night, led police on a high-speed cat-and-mouse chase for 1200km before being caught in Gympie on Thursday night.
About 8.10pm, the three men were taken in custody after giving up without a struggle when grabbed by police north of Gympie.
Police yesterday charged 31-year-old Jackson with one count each of escaping by persons in lawful custody, evading a fare and unlawful use of a motor vehicle. He was also charged with three counts of failing to stop a motor vehicle.
Allen and Cobbo, both 26, were charged with one count of escape by persons in lawful custody.
All men were remanded in custody to reappear before the Gympie Magistrates Court on Monday.