With a manhunt underway for four escaped Lincoln County inmates, including a murder suspect, Sheriff Charlie Dougherty is assuring the public that changes are in the works at the jail.
Brian Moody, Sonny Baker, Trey Goodnight and Jeremy Irvin all escaped through the jail's air ducts early Monday morning. Moody and Baker were both involved in the last jailbreak in March.
Moody was on the run for five days and Baker was on the run for two weeks the last time they escaped the jail, stealing multiple pickups along the way. This time, they brought along Irvin, a murder suspect, and Goodnight, another career thief.
Dougherty admitted it can be a challenge controlling his jail population.
“I’ve been overcrowded for the seven years I’ve been here,” he said.
Licensed for 80 inmates, Dougherty said the Lincoln County jail almost always houses more than 100, with just three deputies working at a time. During the last escape, the jailbirds used their cellmates to create a distraction.
“A couple of them got in a fight, so everyone was focused on the fight. We never saw them go over a wall,” said Dougherty.
The sheriff told News 9 in March that the escaped inmates fumbled their way through a maze of air ducts before finding their way to a room with a door that leads outside. This time, Moody and Baker knew exactly where to go.
“There’s an area between the ceiling and probably about a ten foot way, or it’s made out of wire like a fence wall, and they get up on top of that and they’re able to jump over to an air vent,” described Dougherty.
Dougherty said the county is now working to fix the gap in the wall for good.
“I’ve already met with all three county commissioners,” he said. “They’ve been in here with some contractors to look and see what we can do to avoid this from happening anymore.”
Commissioner Lee Doolen told News 9 he thought the problem had been fixed after the last incident, but said the county team will meet with the district attorney and the sheriff in the coming weeks to come up with an official plan to pay for the repairs.
In the meantime, the escapees have already stolen at least two pickups, according to officers.
If you see any of the four men, Dougherty said to do not approach them. Instead, call 911 right away.
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