Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – A prisoner that was in the custody of a police officer from southern Lexington County took advantage of the time it takes for an electronic gate to open to make a foolish last ditch run for freedom Wednesday night. In the end, all he bought himself was a little time being treated for a dog bite and another charge for attempting to escape.
The officer was transporting the prisoner in a utility vehicle the department sometimes relies on for backup. His regular cruiser was down being serviced. He had stopped at the sliding electronic gate at the rear entrance to the Lexington County Detention Center. This gate limits access to the area behind the Sheriff’s Department and is the last stop “outside” before an officer pulls into the fully secure Sally-port where prisoners are unloaded for booking. In the few seconds it took for the mechanism to open the gate, the man slipped the vehicle’s safety restraints, hopped out, and made a run for it. Of course, he was still wearing cuffs as he ran back toward Hendrix and West Main Streets in Lexington.
The officer immediately called for assistance, and because this is all occurred at the headquarters of the Sheriff’s Department on Gibson Road, help wasn’t far away. Not only did multiple Town of Lexington Police Officers respond but also deputies who were out at the LCSD’s headquarters. Law enforcement officers swarmed the area to set a perimeter to contain the man. Within moments, a Lexington County K-9 and handler were on the man’s trail and tracking him down. The dog had no trouble following the runner and when he was located, the K-9 detained the escapee with his teeth until officers could take the man back into custody. A Lexington County ambulance responded, and the suspect was treated for the dog bite before he was taken back to the jail.
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted in this effort. They were aided by the modern radio system that allowed them to switch to a common channel to communicate with one another. The man has been booked into the jail on the original charges and will now have to answer for his poorly thought out attempt to escape. It is not known if he will be charged with attempted larceny for trying to run away with the officer’s handcuffs.
A high-ranking officers with the department that was transporting the prisoner said Thursday they have special locks they are installing on the truck's passenger seat belt in the event they need it for backup again.
Note: Not actual K-9 involved. Stock photo.