Search Continues For Two Vance County Jail Escapees
Posted July 4, 2002 4:31 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Authorities are looking for two inmates who walked through an unlocked fire door at the Vance County jail.
got away around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said both men went through a fire door that a work crew left unlocked.
The inmates then climbed through an air conditioning duct, climbed over a section of the wall with barbed wire and made their way to the jail's parking lot.
"One of them was challenged in the parking lot, but the inmate appeared to have a weapon and the officer retreated," said Vance County Sheriff Thomas Breedlove.
Bates was in jail for assaulting a handicapped person. Records show he was also convicted for armed robbery. Turner was facing trial for larceny and possession of stolen property. He was also charged with second-degree rape in 1995.
Neighbors who lived close to the jail said they are not surprised about another jailbreak.
"It's a big concern around here because it does happen quite often," said one neighbor.
In May 2000, seven inmates escaped after guards responded to a mattress fire in the jail. In March 2001, three inmates overpowered a guard and escaped from the jail. In March 2002, an inmate being transferred regurgitated a make-shift key and escaped from the vehicle.
Officials said this is the fourth jailbreak since May 2000. Breedlove said most of those incidents involved inexperienced jailers, but he said this incident was human error.
"It was an employee issue that he failed to lock the door when the job was completed," he said.
Authorities said the two men were wearing white T-shirts and yellow shorts when they escaped. Breedlove said that he will conduct an investigation to see what type of changes need to be made to prevent future jailbreaks.