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VIDEO: Mass Escape From Jail; Inmates Say They Fled Because Of Coronavirus

Fourteen Yakima County Jail inmates used a table to force open an exterior fire door.

Yakima, WA – Cell phone footage captured the moment when 14 Yakima County Jail inmates scaled a perimeter fence and flooded out onto the streets of the city on Monday night (video below).

The incident began at approximately 7 p.m., when a group of inmates in Annex C barricaded a door with heavy tables to block jail employees from entering, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.

They then used another table “as a battering ram” and broke open an exterior fire door, the sheriff’s office said.

Cell phone footage from outside the facility showed the inmates as they hoisted themselves over the perimeter fence and took off running across in very possible direction.

The YCSO – which is a separate entity from the Yakima County Jail and is not overseen by the Yakima County Sheriff – responded to the area to help apprehend the fugitives along with officers from the Moxee and Union Gap Police Departments, the Washington State Patrol, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

“Within 15 minutes, we were able to capture 8 inmates and bring them back to jail to continue their incarceration,” the YCSO said.

One inmate was tackled to the ground by a group of firefighters at a nearby fire station, KOMO reported.

The remaining inmates are all located and apprehended by Saturday.

According to jail records, one of the inmates had been charged with reckless driving, one was being held on a U.S. Marshal’s order, one was in for violating a domestic violence restraining order, one had been charged with motor vehicle assault and theft, and two were being held for possessing unlicensed firearms, ABC News reported.

Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell said that the inmates decided to break out of jail because they were afraid about the statewide “stay at home” order that was implemented to help curb the spread of COVID-19, KNDO reported.

Yakima County Jail Security Operations Chief Jeremy Welch said that there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 at the jail, the Yakima Herald reported.

In light of the successful mass escape, additional bars will be added to the outside of the exterior fire door and the tables will be bolted to the floor, Chief Welch told the paper.

You can watch cell phone footage of the inmates’ escape in the video below:

Holly Matkin - March Fri, 2020


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