Overcrowding and age of jail aided in escape

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By Stan Welch

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper, while promising a thorough review of the jail’s procedures, was somewhat sanguine about the recent escape of two prisoners from the Anderson County Detention Center. “The procedures we have in place were followed to the letter. We will be reviewing the use of window units to augment our aging HVAC systems. We may have to enclose window units in rebar cages as an added barrier,” Sheriff Skipper said.

He said that overcrowding and the age of the jail played a role. “These men broke out of their cell, which holds twelve people instead of the four it is rated for. They broke through the back wall, which is almost impossible to see from the cell door when the guard makes his check every half hour. And these folks sit around planning this sort of thing all the time. We thwart almost every plot, but the odds are that sooner or later, one will succeed. Luckily, law enforcement agencies worked together on this and we were able to recapture these men quickly and without further risk to the public.”

Authorities in Oconee County and in Bell County Kentucky recaptured the two escapees.

Sometime Sunday night, Jason Bradley Hughes and Travis Eugene Foster used a leg brace they broke off a table to chisel out the mortar around some cement blocks in an interior wall. That breach let them into an office where they pushed an air conditioning unit out of the window, allowing them to escape the building.

They then climbed a fifteen foot chain link fence topped with razor wire and apparently went their separate ways.

Monday, someone called the Oconee authorities and reported a suspicious male in the area of Wells Highway near Seneca. Authorities responded and located the subject. After a brief foot chase, Oconee Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. David Smith took Travis Eugene Foster into custody.

Foster, who has been in jail since January, has been returned to ACDC where charges of escape will be added to his current charges of grand larceny (two counts) and one charge of larceny.

Tuesday morning, Hughes, who according to surveillance video, stole a work truck from STEC Equipment Company after escaping, was stopped by a Kentucky State trooper on Interstate 25 East, still driving the stolen truck. He is currently in custody in Bell County while awaiting the extradition process to move forward.

Hughes, charged with one count of larceny and failure to stop for a blue light, has been in jail since April, awaiting trial.