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'He took off like Carl Lewis': Witness describes inmates' escape

Posted November 6, 2015

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— Two inmates who jumped out of a transport van Friday morning and were found hiding in a storage shed a short time later were each being held under a $1 million bond.

Police say Logan Long, 24, of Lincolnton, and Damarcus Dixon, 19, of Charlotte, escaped from a Lincoln County Sheriff's Office van around 10 a.m. as it drove on Western Boulevard near Interstate 440 in Raleigh. Seven inmates were in the van at the time, according to the sheriff's office.

The two men, shackled and wearing white T-shirts and white pants, managed to break free of some of their shackles, run about half a mile and hide in a shed on Betsy Meldau's property on Cheney Road before police captured them about 30 minutes later.

"(Police said), 'Lady, you need to get in the house and lock the door. There's some prisoners here.' So, I did," Meldau said.

Sky 5 video showed the men in handcuffs, sitting on the ground. They were then loaded into a police cruiser and taken to the Wake County magistrate's office, where they were charged with felony escape. Long gave the middle finger to WRAL's camera as he left the magistrate's office.

Some neighbors stood outside and waved to police as they drove by. Jason Peptis said he saw the men break out of the van and initially thought it was for a TV show.

"The dude kicked the back door open on that van, and he took off like (former track and field Olympian) Carl Lewis. I mean, he was out," Peptis said. "I just didn't know if it was real or not. With all the stuff on TV, I thought it's probably something they're filming in the area. I just didn't think it was real."

The escape was real, however, and authorities began alerting nearby schools, including Combs Elementary and Athens Drive High, which were locked down as police searched for the men.

Dixon's record shows he has been charged with two dozen felonies and misdemeanors since 2012. He was serving time for burglary, larceny and a conspiracy charge and was due to be released next July.

Long's record shows he is a habitual felon with multiple convictions since 2008, including larceny, breaking and entering and assault by pointing a gun. He was scheduled to be released in June 2021.

The two inmates were returning from an Oct. 29 court appearance in Lincoln County. The deputies planned to drop them off at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner after taking a female inmate to Raleigh, authorities said.

The state Department of Correction typically transports inmates, but it's not uncommon for sheriff's deputies to help out, depending on the situation, according to the DOC. The department referred questions about the inmates' transport to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

When asked if the two deputies in the van would be punished, sheriff's officials would only say that they were still dropping off prisoners Friday afternoon.

Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president and general counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, said there are no state standards for transporting inmates.

“It all depends on the equipment, the personnel available and the inmates," he said. "It varies day to day and case by case."

17 Comments

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  • Wayne Douglas III Nov 6, 2015
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    That is completely wrong, if you go by the witness accounts about running like "Carl Lewis". With shackles on, he would never be able to run more than 15-20 yards, if that much. Even the fat cops would be able to catch him. Shackles are made to be less than 1/2 stride, of the typical human. Go try it sometime. In the Corps, we used to have shackle races, on Jane Wayne day. It is really funny.

  • Norman Lewis Nov 6, 2015
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    Fleeing felons can be shot by transport staff or law enforcement. These 2 guys were lucky. Logan Long just added about 10 years to his sentence and almost certainly will be demoted to close custody. He just made a bad situation worse.

  • Tom Laurence Nov 6, 2015
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    Logan..... smile at the camera! LOL.
    Great Job to all Law Enforcement depts. that captured these 2. Wonder how they got out of a prison van? Hmmmmm.

  • Kris Dawn Nov 6, 2015
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    I saw that..and so young. The other guy was set for 2021. I also saw that the younger one set to get out in 2016 - had JUST moved to Central last week.

  • John Smith Nov 6, 2015
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    lol, WRAL posted a .gif in lieu of a picture. I think I like it...

  • Tyrone Biggum Nov 6, 2015
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    Yeah that's what he meant. He couldn't have possibly been asking for pictures to know who to look out for and alert authorities if they were spotted. Use a little common sense before you troll.

  • Mark Colyer Nov 6, 2015
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    ..you wanted to look for them and track them down?

  • Roy Hinkley Nov 6, 2015
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    Do you understand why the Federal inmates have been offered a shot at early release, or are was that just an easy quip?

  • Ray Rivera Nov 6, 2015
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    Excellent job RPD, WCSO and NCHP, now the million dollar question; how did they get out of a secured transport van while in restraints??

  • Ronald Nunn Nov 6, 2015
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    You can't fix stupid.

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