Monday, August 17, 2009

Prisoner Escapes During Transport

The Sun reports that David Champagne, 20, broke free Thursday night while being taken to jail after being convicted of felony theft (he was already on probation for a 2007 assault conviction). The deputy had to be hospitalized. The escapee appears to still be at large Monday.

Champagne, who was in the back seat of a sheriff's office vehicle, was able to transfer his handcuffs from behind his back to the front of his body. He then used the handcuffs to choke sheriff’s deputy Don Chase and tried to take his firearm, which he wasn't able to get. Champagne then fled in the area of Route 175 and Pocomoke Drive, according to sheriff’s office officials.

The Sun said the sheriff's department will review its transport procedures after the attack, the first on a deputy in 20 years.

Currently, Howard County uses only one sheriff's deputy to transport prisoners within the county, and only some of the cars are fitted with wire barriers between the back and front seats. Those cars are typically used while transporting prisoners charged with more serious crimes, or people taken into custody who are believed to be on drugs.

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