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Bay County Jail, Panama City, Florida

February 24, 2005 News Herald
Bay County Jail officials ordered last weekend the installation of exterior, sliding-bolt locks on transport van doors to prevent escape attempts by inmates, said the jail’s warden.
The new locks come after an inmate broke out of a Corrections Corporation of America transport van Friday afternoon, resulting in an 18-hour manhunt. On Friday, 18-year-old Jeremy D. Aultman of Panama City Beach manipulated the CCA van’s door-locking mechanism through the interior paneling, CCA officials said. Aultman then escaped from the van that was transporting 13 inmates to the Bay County Jail Annex, CCA officials said.   Along with new locks, maintenance crews placed a steel plate over the interior passenger-door panels of the transport van that Aultman escaped from, Watson said. Watson said steel plates already were in place on other CCA vans. Watson on Tuesday defended the actions of his transport driver, who prisoners said failed to notice Aultman trying to escape and then ran from the vehicle to catch Aultman, according to police reports. Watson said Tyndal followed CCA policies and has not been disciplined. Tyndal climbed out of the van to chase Aultman but gave up and returned to the van, according to the reports. Though none of the 12 remaining inmates joined Aultman in trying to flee, some reported to police that they had ample opportunity. Inmate Ryan Meadows and Stanford W. Ferguson sat behind Aultman during the transport from the main jail to Bayou George, according to CCA incident reports. "Tyndal jumped out of the van, leaving his door and our door wide open — keys still in the van," Meadows stated in the incident report. Ferguson concurred Meadows’ report that Tyndal chased Aultman without securing the van’s doors. Meadows added that when Tyndal came back to the van, the guard took the inmates on a "high-speed" chase through the nearby residential area called The Cove. Friday’s escape attempt occurred about five months after four inmates at the main jail escaped from their cells and held CCA employees hostage. A faulty cell door lock received part of the blame for allowing the uprising, according to a state investigation.

February 20, 2005 News Herald
Police captured and returned to jail a Panama City Beach man on Saturday, a day after he escaped from a transport van. Panama City police found Jeremy D. Aultman, 18, at about 7 a.m., walking through a residential area about a block from where he escaped, according to police reports. Aultman became the subject of a manhunt Friday afternoon when he unlocked the transport van’s door from the inside and ran from the vehicle as it waited on a traffic signal. Thore said Aultman was en route to the Bay County Jail Annex in Bayou George with 12 other inmates when he escaped. Thore said Correction Corporation of America , the Tennessee company that manages the jail for Bay County , continues to investigate the incident.

Bracken County Jail, Bracken County, Kentucky
October 12, 2005 Maysville Ledger Independent
With a $94,000 good news report, Augusta-Brooksville-Bracken County Industrial Authority Chairman Tom Stephenson appeared before Bracken County Fiscal Court Wednesday. Change is what Jailer Gary Riggs wanted when a bill for was taken out of his budget for costs to retrieve two prisoners from Louisiana. "I have no say over what the sheriff's office does, yet they take the funds out of my budget," said Riggs. In July, Anthony Silvey and Ashley Luman were caught by Louisiana authorities after an auto theft arrest in Bracken County. The pair allegedly served some jail time in Louisiana and were returned to Kentucky at the request of Bracken County Sheriff Mike Nelson who used the services of Transcor to bring them back. Following what Riggs and magistrates felt was a costly trip, the criminal charges against the pair were reduced and time served, including in Louisiana, was assessed, plus probation and court costs. "They got a free ride home is what it amounts to, though Luman is facing charges in Mason County," said Riggs. Magistrates agreed to pay the bill the county received for $843.21 from Transcor and look into the retrieval cost situation.

Bradford County Jail, Starke, Florida
February 4, 2008 Jacksonville Times-Union
A privately contracted corrections officer is in jail after Bradford County deputies charged him Friday with having sex with two inmates he was transporting. Shaun McFadden, 26, was arrested at the Days Inn in Starke after one of the women escaped from a motel room where she'd been taken and called police, Bradford County Sheriff Bob Milner said. Both women went to the motel willingly, but one became fearful and fled, Milner said. McFadden is charged with two counts of having sex with an inmate in custody. He is being held on $100,000 bail. Police didn't disclose the women's names. The incident began after McFadden, an armed officer who works for the national corrections transport chain Transcor, took four prisoners to the Bradford County jail. Milner said such prisoners come from different locations and spend time in the jail until being transported to their final destination. The jail is paid a fee to house the prisoners. McFadden returned a short time later and told authorities he needed to take the two women to a local hospital for physicals so they could be cleared for further transport. McFadden and the women, who were handcuffed and shackled, then left. A police report said the women and McFadden had planned the move. The women told police they intended to drink and smoke with McFadden, while one also planned to escape. The women told police McFadden had consensual sex with them at the motel on U.S. 301. One of the women said she became fearful that McFadden might harm her and fled while he was in the shower. When police arrived, they found McFadden and the other woman still in the room. The women were neither restrained nor injured when police found them. One was to be taken to Brevard County, while the other was headed for Atlanta. Milner didn't know what the women were being held for, but they weren't charged in the Bradford incident.

Brighton Jail, Brighton, Colorado
Police are searching for a man they say was being held on burglary charges who escaped from a transport van in Brighton late Wednesday night.  They say Floyd W. Stolin Jr., 31, jumped out of a van at about 10:22 p.m. as the van stoppped on the off-ramp of Interstate 76 and Bromley Lane.  The van, operated by private prisoner transport service TransCor America, was bringing Stolin to the Brighton jail.  (Denver Post, August 5, 2004)

Colorado
The American Civil Liberties Union disclosed Tuesday that it has obtained "a substantial settlement" for a female prisoner who said she was sexually assaulted by a guard while being transported between jails in Texas and Colorado. The settlement ends a 3-year-old lawsuit filed against TransCor America, a Tennessee-based private extradition company, now owned by Corrections Corporation of America. The amount was not disclosed. "No woman should ever have to endure what our client went through," said Cynthia Kok, a co-counsel in the case. "And no amount of money can make up for it." The lawsuit alleges that in March 1998 she was assaulted while in shackles while being returned to Fremont County to face a theft charge. Kok said she knows of four other lawsuits against TransCor, stemming from similar incidents, including two lawsuits in Colorado, one in Texas and one in Virginia. In March, lawyers for TransCor admitted to the court that they had learned of five other cases of sexual misconduct by transport guards working for the company. (Rocky Mountain News, April 24, 2002)

Crossroads Correctional Facility, Shelby, Montana
February 15, 2006 KXLF
A private inmate transport van hit black ice and crashed on Homestake Pass near Butte last night. No serious injuries were reported, but the eight prisoners were taken to St. James Healthcare for examination. Montana State Prison Warden Mike Mahoney said the inmates were not in the custody of the state Corrections Department. The inmates were being transported by TransCor America. Mahoney said the van was headed to Deer Lodge, where the inmates were to spend the night -- some at the Powell County jail and some at the state prison intake unit. Mahoney believes the inmates were being taken to Washington or Oregon.

January 20, 2006 AP and Great Falls Tribune
Putting the Department of Corrections in charge of transporting almost all prisoners in the state drew mixed reaction from lawmakers Thursday. DOC Director Bill Slaughter and other officials have been weighing the idea for some time, but raised it again following last week's escape of accused murderer Dueston Haggard near Helena. Currently, DOC transports about 47 percent of prison inmates, with the U.S. Marshals Service, local law enforcement and private contractors comprising the rest, department spokesman Bob Anez told the Law and Justice Interim Committee. The department is considering taking over transports for the Marshals Service and bearing more of the load for local law enforcement, he said. DOC is already assuming control of services from private contractor TransCor America when its contract with the state expires on June 30.

January 19, 2006 Helena Independent Record
Escape charges won’t be resubmitted against two men who broke out of a prison transport van in Helena in 2004 because that might constitute “double jeopardy.” Deputy Lewis and Clark County Attorney Carolyn Clemens said on Wednesday that given past U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding double jeopardy — being tried twice for the same crime — she believes any effort by her to refile the cases against Brian Holliday and William Brown would be barred. Clemens said she was disappointed by Helena District Court Judge Thomas Honzel’s decision to dismiss the charges last week on the wording of jury instructions. But she added that tacking more time onto the escapees’ existing life sentences was never her goal. “Trying them for escape in the first place was not to give them more time, as they are lifers anyway, but rather to let them and others know that we wouldn’t just turn a deaf ear on escapes in Helena,” she said. Holliday, Brown, Russell VanKirk and Jasper Phillips were charged with escape after they removed a screen from the back window of a private TransCor van and jumped out as the vehicle was parked outside Burger King on 11th Avenue while one of the guards made a dinner run. The defense attorneys asserted that the specific wording of instructions offered to the jury at trial — not challenged by prosecutors — indicated, in their opinion that their clients couldn’t have escaped because they weren’t in the custody of peace officers. A response brief filed by Deputy County Attorney Lisa Leckie stated that the legal definition requires the placement of a person in the legal custody of a governmental body as the result of the constraint or in custody of the person in one of three ways — by a peace officer pursuant to arrest, by transport, or by legal order.

January 13, 2006 Helena Independent Record
As law enforcement officers searched for an escaped murder suspect in Helena Wednesday, a district court judge ruled that two men who bailed out of a transport van at Burger King on 11th two years ago should have a new trial in that case. Judge Thomas Honzel stated in his decision that prosecutors failed to prove that Brian Holliday and William Brown were in the custody of peace officers when they climbed out of a back window in the TransCor America van in which they were riding en route to Montana State Prison in September 2004. Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher said Thursday that he was disappointed by the decision, but it didn’t come as much of a surprise given the judge’s response to prosecutors’ arguments in the case at a hearing on the issue held earlier this week.The defense attorneys asserted that the specific wording of instructions offered to the jury at trial — not challenged by prosecutors — indicated, in their opinion, that their clients couldn’t have escaped because they weren’t in the custody of peace officers. TransCor is a private company that was contracted to transport the prisoners.

January 10, 2006 Helena Independent Record
District Court Judge Thomas Honzel didn't make a decision at a hearing Monday regarding a new trial for two convicts who bailed out of a prison transport van outside a Helena Burger King in 2004, but he certainly appeared to be looking closely at the defense's arguments. Honzel called Deputy County Attorney Lisa Leckie to a blackboard in the courtroom to explain her belief that instructions given to the jury in the case of Brian Holliday and William Brown would allow for the possibility that the men could be found guilty - on a grammatical, and as a result, a legal level. In addition, he quizzed Leckie intensely about why she didn't specify a certain sub-section of the law naming transport personnel in those jury instructions, thus eliminating the basis for defense tactics being pursued by public defenders Jeremy Gersovitz and Randi Hood that their clients weren't in legal custody at the time of their escape. Holliday, Brown, Russell VanKirk and Jasper Phillips were charged with escape after they removed a screen from the back window of a transport van operated by TransCor America as the vehicle was parked outside Burger King on 11th Avenue in September 2004. Shortly after the men's conviction, Gersovitz and Hood challenged that verdict on the basis that the specific wording of jury instructions - not challenged at trial by prosecutors - indicated, in their opinion, that the men could not have escaped because they weren't in the custody of peace officers. A brief filed by Leckie at that time stated that the legal definition requires the placement of a person in the legal custody of a governmental body as the result of the constraint or custody of the person in one of three ways - by a peace officer pursuant to arrest, by transport or by legal order.

December 30, 2005 Billings Gazette
The last two of four prisoners who broke out of a prison transport van at a fast-food restaurant here last year have been sentenced to more prison time for the escape. District Court Judge Thomas Honzel tacked 10 years onto the end of Russell R. VanKirk's murder sentence and added 20 years to William L. Brown's earlier murder sentence. The two others involved in the escape, Jasper Phillips and Brian Holliday, were sentenced earlier. In September 2004, the four broke a screen of the private prison transport van when it stopped at a Burger King. The prisoners were en route to Montana State Prison when the guards stopped to buy dinner for the men. Phillips was caught by one of the guards before he could make it out of the parking lot. The other three were caught within hours.

December 14, 2005 Independent Record
Last week, a Helena District Court judge tacked 10 years onto the 90-year sentence already being served by a convicted murderer who escaped from a prison transport van parked outside of a Helena Burger King in 2004. Judge Thomas Honzel sentenced Brian Holliday to 10 years for the escape, six months in jail for attempted theft, and another 10 years for being a persistent offender. The sentences are to run concurrently to each other, and consecutive to his sentence for murder. Two of Holliday's fellow escapees - William Brown and Russell VanKirk - are scheduled to be sentenced for their involvement later this month. The fourth member of the group, Jasper Phillips, pleaded guilty to the escape charge shortly after the incident and received a five-year sentence to be served consecutively to the sentence he was already serving at Montana State Prison. Holliday, Brown, VanKirk and Phillips were charged with escape after they removed a screen from the back window of a transport van operated by TransCor America as the vehicle was parked outside Burger King on 11th Avenue in September 2004. At trial, defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that their defendants couldn't legally be convicted of escape because they weren't in official detention as defined by Montana law at the time they bailed out of the transport van. Despite the jury's unwillingness to accept that argument, the defense attorneys filed documents with the court last month requesting a new trial for their clients on the basis that the TransCor guards aren't peace officers as described in Montana code. Prosecutors discount that argument, and the judge has not yet made a ruling in the case.

December 8, 2005 Independent Record
Lewis and Clark County prosecutors discount a recent argument by public defenders that two men who bailed out of a prison transport van outside a Helena Burger King last year should receive a new trial based on a legal technicality. Deputy County Attorney Lisa Leckie argued in a brief filed in Helena District Court Tuesday that a Powell County jury that found William Brown and Brian Holliday guilty of escape in October did not err in its decision, and the guilty verdict should stand. "It's a matter of grammar," said Leckie Wednesday, explaining that she disagrees with the interpretation outlined in a recent brief by public defenders Randi Hood and Jeremy Gersovitz of what conditions constitute "legal detention." Hood and Gersovitz asserted in a document filed shortly after the completion of the trial that Brown and Holliday could not have escaped from the transport van because they weren't in official detention by Montana's legal definition. Holliday, Brown, Russell VanKirk and Jasper Phillips were charged with escape after they removed a screen from the back window of a transport van operated by TransCor America as the vehicle was parked outside Burger King on 11th Avenue in September 2004. In opposition to the defense's argument that the prosecution failed to prove at trial that TransCor employees were "peace officers" as required by the legal definition of "official detention" that was included in the jury instructions, Leckie asserted that the criteria for detention is actually more broad. Leckie's brief states that the definition requires the placement of a person in the legal custody of a governmental body as the result of the constraint or custody of the person in one of three ways - by a peace officer pursuant to arrest, by transport or by court order. For that reason, she denies that the defense has legal grounds to be granted a new trial by the judge in the case.

December 2, 2005 Billings Gazette
The lawyers for two men who bailed out of a prison transport van outside a Helena Burger King, sparking a manhunt in a neighborhood last year, are asking the trial judge to set aside a guilty verdict recently handed down by a jury in the case. Public defenders Randi Hood and Jeremy Gersovitz filed the motion this week, arguing that prosecutors failed to present evidence at a trial last month that would prove that employees for TransCor America fit the legal definition of peace officers. The attorneys contend that their clients, William Brown and Brian Holliday, couldn't have escaped from the transport van, considering they weren't in official detention by Montana's legal definition. It took jurors in Powell County 30 minutes after a two-day trial in Deer Lodge in October to convict Holliday of escape and attempted theft and Brown of escape. Jasper Phillips pleaded guilty to his involvement shortly after the incident and received a five-year sentence to be served consecutively to the sentence he was already serving in Montana State Prison. Russell VanKirk also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. VanKirk, Brown and Phillips were charged with escape after they peeled a screen off a back window of a transport van as the vehicle was parked outside Burger King on 11th Avenue in September 2004. Holliday was charged with escape as well, but prosecutors tacked on a charge of attempted theft because he rushed up to a couple sitting in a pickup truck and attempted to hijack their vehicle. On the day of the escape, one of the transport van guards immediately apprehended Phillips in the parking lot at Burger King, and Holliday was arrested in the area soon later. VanKirk and Brown eluded police for a longer period. However, they were both arrested within hours of the escape. Deputy County Attorney Carolyn Clemens said Thursday that she was in the process of reviewing the motion and will file a written response with the court.

November 4, 2005 Independent Record
Two of four inmates who escaped from a prison transport van in Helena last year were found guilty in connection with the incident by a Powell County jury this week. It took jurors 30 minutes following a two-day trial in Deer Lodge to convict Brian Holliday of escape and attempted theft, and William Brown of escape. Jasper Phillips pleaded guilty to his involvement shortly after the incident and received a five-year sentence to be served consecutively to the sentence he was already serving in Montana State Prison. Russell VanKirk - who is serving a life sentence for the 1995 murder of Helena resident Tamara Pengra - waited until last week to enter his guilty plea. On the day of the escape, one of the transport van guards immediately apprehended Phillips in the parking lot at Burger King, and Holliday was arrested in the area soon later. VanKirk and Brown eluded police for a longer period of time. However, they were both apprehended within hours of the escape. Public defenders for the men argued at trial that their clients could not possibly have escaped given that they weren't in "official detention" at the time of the incident. Attorneys asserted that the guards who manned the transport van owned by a private company - TransCor - didn't meet the legal definition of peace officers as is written in the law. Following the escape, officials with the Montana Department of Corrections reviewed the state's contract with the company, and agreed to keep it as long as several policy changes were made. Among those changes was a rule that prisoner transports stop only at secure facilities, and local authorities be notified of gas stops. Sack lunches will be used. In addition, a chase car will follow vanloads of the most dangerous convicts, prisoner data sheets and photos will be carried in the vans, and the DOC will be e-mailed about such transfers.

November 22, 2004 AP
Three maximum-security inmates pleaded not guilty Monday to escaping from a prison transport van in a restaurant parking lot in September. A fourth inmate plans to enter the same plea next month, prosecutors said. The inmates, several of them convicted murderers, were among six being transported from the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby to the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge on Sept. 2 when the TransCor America van stopped at a Helena restaurant for food. Four men broke out of the van through a window and two were nabbed quickly. The other two were subjects of an intense manhunt for hours before being arrested in a nearby residential neighborhood. The state immediately suspended its $311,000 annual contract with TransCor following the escape and demanded tighter security measures for movement of inmates. The company complied and has since resumed work. TransCor was also asked to pay $23,516 to cover the state and local government costs of recapture. Officials have refused to say how the inmates were able to unlock their hand-cuffs and leg shackles without a key.

September 22, 2004 Billings Gazette
The company responsible for four maximum-security inmates who escaped in Helena earlier this month will be asked to pay $23,516 to cover the state and local government costs of recapturing them. In a letter to TransCor America this week, the state Department of Corrections submitted a bill for $21,708. That was the expense incurred by the Helena Police Department, Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office, Montana Highway Patrol, the state Criminal Investigation Bureau, Lewis and Clark County Search and Rescue, and the American Red Cross. Joe Williams, head of the centralized services for the department, said Wednesday his agency will send a separate bill for $1,808 to the Nashville-based company. The four inmates, three of them convicted murderers, were among six being transported from the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby to the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge when the TransCor van stopped at a Helena restaurant for food. Four men broke out of the van and two were nabbed quickly. The other two were captured within the next eight hours after an intensive manhunt in a residential neighborhood. Officials have refused to say how the inmates were able to unlock their handcuffs and leg shackles without a key.

September 14, 2004 Helena Independent Record
The company in charge of a transport van overwhelmed by convicts Sept. 2 will be back hauling prisoners today.
Montana Department of Corrections Director Bill Slaughter said TransCor agreed to make changes. The company, a subsidiary of Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, also agreed to pick up the tab for the search, which is estimated to be at least $20,000.The convicts used some sort of tool to free themselves of handcuffs, leg irons and waist restraints. They were being transported from the CCA-run Crossroad Correctional Facility in Shelby to the maximum security Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge, after their behaviour deteriorated and officers found weapons and tools in their cells.

September 10, 2004 Helena Independent Record
Deep vibrations in the night awakened me. For a moment, looking out the window was like watching some cop show on TV, where the choppers pin the inner-city bad guys in blinding pillars of light as loudspeakers tell them to “throw down your weapons.” The massive helicopter and the searchlight sweeping the homes of sleeping residents fit the script exactly except for one thing—this was Helena, not L.A. As it turned out, a lot more than the choppers and searchlights fit the script for a Hollywood cop show. Four convicts, who were being transported between Montana prisons, had just broken out of a van while its driver ducked into Burger King for some fast food. One, a convicted killer, was now loose within blocks of the home of his former victim’s family—hence the choppers and searchlights in a city where sleep is rarely disturbed by such events. But to make a short story long, the questions are now pouring forth about how it was possible for four men, supposedly all chained at ankle, wrist and waist, to break out of an armored prison van and flee into the night. But at least part of the answer started a decade ago, when then-Gov. Marc Racicot tossed hundreds of millions of tax dollars into an ambitious spending plan that included, for the first time in Montana’s history, private prisons. It would also be great if such a move had actually made Montana’s state government “more efficient and more effective,” as Racicot promised. Neither thing happened, however, as last weekend’s episode illustrates. The privatization was just the latest domino to tumble in the national Republican plan to turn the lucrative business of government over to the private sector. Prisons—yeah, give ’em to contractors. Last weekend’s incident in Helena, without question, is a direct outgrowth, since, as it turns out, TransCor America, a division of Corrections Corporation of America, was recently contracted by the state to transport prisoners. As it turns out, some of the people who were around the Capitol when Racicot rammed through privatization are still around. Jim Smith, for one, was and is the lobbyist for the Montana Sheriffs’ and Peace Officers’ Association. He is also the current mayor of Helena.
According to Smith, prisoner transportation duties had been previously undertaken by the counties. Smith says: “We felt like we were performing a good service” and “saving the state money.” The problem, it seems, was with legislative approval for the funds to reimburse counties for their expenses. After successive legislatures refused to make the appropriation, Smith says the counties “gave notice in February that we were going to have to discontinue” prisoner transportation.Then came a miracle of modern politics. Although no money existed to reimburse county governments for their expenditures, suddenly money was found to contract with a private company. The privatization of prisons and prison services in Montana deserves a second hard look. One early promise, that Montana would not serve as a dumping ground for out-of-state prisoners, has already gone by the wayside. Now, dangerous prisoners roam residential neighborhoods at night, having walked away from a supposedly “armored” prison transport van.

September 10, 2004 Billings Gazette
On the day that four inmates escaped from a prison transport van parked at a city Burger King, the transport service's parent company received an award as "outstanding business of the year" from Gov. Judy Martz. Corrections Corp. of America, the firm that runs Montana's private prison in Shelby, owns TransCor and had received the Desiree Taggart Memorial Award on Sept. 2, hours before four maximum security prisoners escaped custody of TransCor workers while en route from Shelby to Deer Lodge. "It's unfortunate that the escape by four prisoners occurred in Helena on the same day that CCA was being given this award," said Chuck Butler, Martz's spokesman. "It is one of those unfortunate coincidences. Certainly, CCA had earned the award." The award was presented to company officials about a mile from the fast-food restaurant where the inmates made their escape.

September 9, 2004 Montana Standard
The days of Burger King dinners may soon be over for Montana prisoners and the private agents who transport them. State corrections officials handed a list of demands on Wednesday to leaders of TransCor, the private prisoner transport service from which four inmates escaped last Thursday, among them: No more eating out.
The transport van was stopped at a mid-town Helena Burger King for dinner and a trainee of the company was left in charge of six maximum security inmates while her colleague — a fully-trained officer — went inside the restaurant.

September 9, 2004 Helena Independent Record
TransCor, the private prisoner transport service from whose custody four inmates escaped here last week, offered a job to Corrections Director Bill Slaughter several months before the state inked a deal with the Tennessee-based company, records show.
Slaughter told legislative auditors in the spring that TransCor approached him to take a job, a memo from the Legislative Audit Division shows. Slaughter told the company he had no current plans to resign. Auditors, who were asked to investigate the contract, concluded that Slaughter had broken no laws. The memo was written on April 12, just days before TransCor's contract to transport prisoners in Montana went into effect.

September 5, 2004 Helena Independent Record
Anyone living in Helena's Central neighborhood where two escaped murders were hiding late Thursday night has to be thankful that local law enforcement officers were so quick to react and so thorough in their search. A situation with all the ingredients of a disaster was defused after an anxious night of roadblocks and intensive neighborhood searches on the ground and from the air. Either of the two convicts was capable of committing further hideous crimes, including murder, taking hostages or taking on police in a standoff. Once mobilized, law enforcement officials responded immediately and deserve everyone's sincere thanks for an excellent job of keeping the escapees in a controlled area. But those minutes and decisions made just before the escape cause us to ask several questions. Most of them have to be directed to officials at the Montana Department of Corrections, which only recently changed its method of transferring prisoners. Earlier this summer it awarded the job to TransCor of America, a division of Corrections Corporation of America. The firm also runs the state's only private prison in Shelby. The six maximum security inmates (two prisoners never left the van) were being transported from Shelby to Deer Lodge, a routine transfer, according to Department of Corrections Director Bill Slaughter. If the transfer was routine, we have to wonder if it also is a matter of routine for guards escorting prisoners to stop at a fast food restaurant in the middle of town for a quick burger? It's a long trip from Shelby to Deer Lodge, but couldn't they pack a lunch? At least, couldn't they have used the drive-through? We have to wonder if two guards are enough to handle six maximum security inmates? Especially when one of the guards leaves the van and goes into a restaurant? We have to wonder if the van, which apparently was peeled open with the inmates' bare hands, was sufficiently armored to transport such deadly cargo? We have to wonder if a transport van should even be allowed to stop in an area so familiar to a convict, in this case VanKirk? And one especially disturbing question came from members of the Pengra family, who wondered why they weren't notified of the escape?

September 4, 2004 Montana Standard
Thursday's escape attempt wasn't the first for convicted murderers Russell VanKirk and William Brown. In fact, both of the men attempted on separate occasions to break out of the private prison in Shelby earlier this year, according to officials with the Montana Department of Corrections.  While Public Information Specialist Sally Hilander could not provide details about the efforts of the men to obtain their freedom, she said VanKirk was written up for an escape attempt on June 1 this year, while Brown was written up for similar activity on May 27.  Before that, VanKirk attempted to break out of a Corrections Corporation of America facility in Tennessee in January 1998. At that time, Montana prisoners were being held there due to overcrowding in Deer Lodge.  Brown tried to make a break from the Anaconda-Deer Lodge Jail following his arrest for deliberate homicide in May 2001.  Brown was charged and convicted of that first escape attempt, but not the most recent effort.  VanKirk was not formally charged with either of his previous escape attempts.  Hilander said both of the men were being moved to Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge Thursday night because they had been reclassified as maximum security prisoners due to disruptive conduct at the private prison in Shelby. The Shelby facility doesn't have the proper accommodations for prisoners with that inmate status.

September 4, 2004 Billing Gazette
Two private inmate transport agents and their Tennessee employer have been temporarily suspended from moving Montana prisoners as officials investigate the Thursday escape of two convicted murderers from a transport van stopped here at a Burger King.  In all, four inmates escaped from the van , operated by TransCor, a subsidiary of Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private corrections company. The breakout occurred Thursday evening as the van was idling in a Burger King parking lot near the Capitol for a dinner break. Two convicts were caught shortly after the escape. Two others, killers Russell VanKirk and Leonard Brown, remained on the lam for hours prompting a manhunt that lasted until after 1 a.m. Corrections Director Bill Slaughter said he temporarily suspended TransCor's 4-month-old contract as his agency and others try to answer some questions including: How did the inmates slip out of their shackles and handcuffs before the breakout? How did the prisoners rip the wire mesh covering the back windows of the van? Where was the guard who was supposed to be watching the van as her partner went into Burger King? Why didn't agents use the drive through?  "I don't know that I've ever seen a more potentially dangerous situation," Slaughter said. "We took this deadly serious."  The escapees were among six inmates being transferred to the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge from the Crossroads Correctional Facility in Shelby because they had recently been reclassified as "maximum security," said Mike Mahoney, warden of the Montana State Prison. The Shelby prison, run by CCA, the parent corporation of TransCor, has no maximum security wing, Mahoney said. The only such wing is the one at Montana State Prison.  Mahoney said he wasn't exactly sure why the men were reclassified to maximum security, but said they may have been too poorly behaved to safely stay in Shelby.  The six inmates were traveling in a 12-passenger van, said Ashley Nimmo, director of marketing and communications for TransCor. One of the agents had worked with the company since April when TransCor inked its contract with the state. The other was recently hired and was still receiving on the job training after her graduation from the company's two-week training program in July.  The trainee was left in charge of the inmates as the fully trained officer went into the Burger King restaurant, Nimmo said, adding that such a situation does not violate TransCor safety policies.

September 3, 2004
Two convicted murderers escaped from a prison transport van while it was parked a fast-food restaurant, but they didn't get very far.  Five hours after breaking the windows of the van to escape while one of the guards went into Burger King on Thursday, Russell Rex VanKirk was arrested just blocks away, said Helena Police Chief Troy McGee. William Leonard Brown was captured early Friday sneaking through yards nearby, he said.  VanKirk was taken to the hospital to be treated for cuts. "He's being well guarded," McGee said.  They were among four men who escaped from the van at 6 p.m. The other two escapees were immediately captured.  (AP)

September 3, 2004
Two convicted murderers escaped from a prison transport van Thursday evening at a fast-food restaurant here, Lewis and Clark County officials said.  Russell Rex VanKirk and William Leonard Brown were among four men who broke a window out of the van at 6 p.m.  VanKirk, Brown and two others escaped the van after one of the two guards had gone into Burger King. One inmate was badly cut by the glass and was treated at St. Peter's Community Hospital. Another was quickly apprehended and two remained in the van, McGee said.   Gov. Judy Martz was trying to acquire helicopters and night vision equipment to aid the search, Slaughter said.  The men were being taken from the private Crossroads Corrections Center in Shelby to the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge by TransCor, a company recently contracted by the state to transport inmates.  (AP)

Houston, Texas
A former driver for a company transporting Harris County Jail inmates was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $5,000 Friday for sexually assaulting a female inmate he transported two years ago. The assault allegedly occurred while Edwards and another driver, David Jackson, were picking up and dropping off inmates at other jails around the state. Edwards and Jackson were employees of TransCor America, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company hired by the Harris County Sheriff's Department to bring inmates to Houston from other counties. During the sentencing phase, a Rhode Island woman testified that Edwards had sexually assaulted her in a TransCor van during a trip from Denver to New Mexico in September 1999. (Houston Chronicle, October 6, 2001)

Kansas
On February 26, Rick Hollon sat chained inside a mesh cage in the back of a van rolling along the snow-dusted roads of Nevada. Clad in an orange jumpsuit, his hands shackled to his waist, Hollon had spent the previous two weeks traversing the country in similar cells-on-wheels. A beefy ex-Army helicopter crewman, Hollon had lost 30 pounds since his cross-country trip began. Outside, the temperatures were below freezing; his cage had become an icebox. Now I know why people run, he thought.  A few weeks earlier, Hollon had been working as a foreman on a 700-acre horse ranch in La Cygne, Kansas; on the side, he had a business breaking horses. On January 31, Hollon was driving his pickup to Paola for a load of supplies when a Paola cop pulled him over for rolling through a stop sign. Next thing he knew, the officer was arresting him on an outstanding warrant. According to police records, he owed more than $10,000 in child support to his ex-wife in Nevada.  Protesting that he was innocent, Hollon spent the next two weeks in the Miami County Jail while authorities arranged for his extradition to Nevada. Sometime after sunset on Valentine's Day, they loaded him into a white van divided into three chain-link compartments.  He was now a passenger with TransCor America, the biggest name in the human-traffic industry. Get a speeding ticket out of state? Have unsettled legal troubles in California? If there's a warrant with your name on it and local lawmen find you, odds are that TransCor will fetch you. And cheap. The Tennessee-based discount prisoner-delivery company can cut inmate shipping budgets by 30 percent, its Web site brags. TransCor has done business with more than 1,700 law-enforcement agencies across the country, schlepping more than 70,000 prisoners a year, the site says.  But it's a mostly unsupervised industry.  For example, federal regulations mandate that a prisoner not spend more than 15 hours in a transport van without 8 hours of rest. By conservative estimate, Hollon's 1,500-mile trip from Kansas to Nevada should have taken about 30 hours. But Hollon spent almost 17 days in transit; for much of that time, he was locked in a contorted position, bouncing from state to state like a lost package. Watching road signs, he charted his route through Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, California and Nevada.  Company spokeswoman Ashley Nimmo tells the Pitch that each TransCor voyage should average about five days. To monitor this, each company van is equipped with a GPS system that can track its whereabouts within a tenth of a mile. She says that even though pickup and drop-off logs confirm that Hollon's trip lasted nearly 17 days, she has no evidence that he was mistreated. Nimmo says all GPS records are deleted from the TransCor tracking system after one month.  In Nevada, Hollon learned that his trek was the result of a paperwork error. He has two ex-wives -- both mothers of his children -- one raising a son in Nevada and one raising a son and daughter in Ohio. Because he had not clearly specified that his bimonthly paycheck garnishments be divided equally between his former spouses, Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services had been routing all of his child support to Ohio.  Hollon pleaded guilty to the charge to get out of the slammer. His trip home was shorter. On March 3, he took a Greyhound to Las Vegas, a cab to the airport and then a late-night flight back to Kansas City. It took him less than 10 hours. Hollon was scheduled to appear in Nevada for a preliminary hearing in April, but the charges against him were dropped.  (Pitch Weekly)

Milwaukee County Jail, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 15, 2007 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
A Milwaukee County Board committee on Tuesday rejected a plan by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to privatize inmate transport services with a company in Nashville, Tenn. Clarke said the job could be done more efficiently, free 15 deputies to work on more intensive law enforcement and save the county $325,000 a year. Supervisors said the move hadn't been well thought out and should not have been included in County Executive Scott Walker's budget proposal. The finance committee voted 6-0 to reject the $1.5 million privatization plan, after the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association presented information critical of TransCor America. The material included news accounts of escapes of prisoners being transported by TransCor, which bills itself as the largest inmate transport company in the United States. The association filed a lawsuit last week to stop the change, arguing that Clarke lacked legal authority to hire an outside company for prisoner transport. Supervisors questioned whether public safety would be compromised by using a private company for moving inmates. But sheriff's Inspector Kevin Carr said, "I don't think the citizens in our county are going to notice the difference of who picks up the inmates at Waupun (state prison) and brings them down here to court."

Oxford, Mississippi
December 1, 2004 Daily Mississippian
An employee has been fired and equipment has been adjusted following an investigation into how a prisoner escaped in Oxford in October. David Randal Moser, 25, was being transported by TransCor, a private transportation company, from Florida to Ohio to face rape charges when he escaped in Oxford on Oct. 24. An investigation into how he escaped resulted into security equipment adjustments and the termination of one employee, said Ashley Nimmo, director of marketing communications for TransCor. “We looked at equipment and made some adjustments,” Nimmo said. “One employee has been released due to violation of company policy.” Nimmo said she could not comment further on the equipment or the employee. TransCor also paid the Oxford Police Department for the overtime their officers put in to look for the prisoner.

October 28, 2004 Daily Mississippian
Escaped prisoner David Randal Moser lived in trees near Jackson Avenue for over 58 hours as he evaded police after his escape Sunday.
Moser, 25, who was arrested around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Moser, who has been charged in Ohio with rape and sexual misconduct with a minor, escaped on foot from a private transport at Wendy’s at approximately 12:45 p.m. Sunday.

October 26, 2004 Daily Mississippian
Although police still search in Oxford for escaped prisoner David Randal Moser, they do not know whether he is in or out of Lafayette County. Moser, 25, who has been charged in Ohio with sexual conduct with a minor, escaped on foot from a private transport at Wendy’s at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday. Stephanie Castle, a relative of the family that brought the charges against Moser, called The Daily Mississippian to request an update about Moser’s whereabouts. Castle said she is upset that Moser was allowed to escape. “I can’t believe these extradition people have a Web site saying they are high security,” Castle said. “Where were the people when he did it (escaped)? I don’t get this at all. It just makes me irate.”
Moser was being transported by TransCor, a private prisoner transportation company, from Florida to Ohio when he escaped.

October 25, 2004 Daily Mississippian
Police searched for an escaped prisoner on campus and across Oxford Sunday afternoon through the early morning hours. As of 1:30 a.m., the search was to no avail. David Randal Moser, 25, escaped on foot from a private transport at Wendy’s on Jackson Avenue at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday, a flier said.
Moser, who was in custody for charges of sexual conduct with a minor, was being transported by Transcor from Florida to Richland County Jail in Mansfield, Ohio.

Palm Beach County Jail, Palm Beach, Florida
October 18, 2005 Palm Beach Post
A federal prisoner got a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card from the Palm Beach County Jail last week when a paperwork mix-up made jail officials think the counterfeiter could be released on bond. Termaine Hollis, 29, was in the midst of a 15-month federal prison sentence in Mississippi when he was transferred Thursday to the county jail to await a local court hearing on a separate misdemeanor charge. There was only one problem: Officials say someone along the way forgot the paperwork that pegs Hollis as a federal inmate who cannot be released. So when Hollis was booked into the jail he was assigned a $500 bond - and didn't hesitate to take it. Who was to blame for the fumble? The sheriff's office, which manages the jail, pointed its finger at TransCor, a private company that transports prisoners. Sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller said the company failed to provide jail officials with the necessary paperwork when it brought Hollis to Palm Beach County, although he said he didn't know whether that was the company's mistake or the federal prison's. "We don't believe the mistake actually occurred at our facility," Miller said.

Pueblo County Jail, Pueblo, Colorado
October 21, 2006 The Pueblo Chieftain
The latest round of campaign finance reports on Pueblo County races reflect a trio of David-and-Goliath contests, at least in financial terms. In the race for sheriff, incumbent Republican Dan Corsentino has raised $133,500 and spent $100,000 as of last week. His Democratic challenger, Kirk Taylor, has raised $41,424 and spent all but $800 of it. Corsentino, who has been sheriff since 1990, had $49,000 in his campaign treasury a year ago and has raised more than $85,000 this year. His most recent report, covering contributions through Oct. 12, includes $1,000 contributions from Transcor America LLC, Aramark political action committee and Motorola PAC, as well as $1,000 each from local residents Keith and Sharon Swerdfeger, Daniel Montano, Thomas Rusler, Gary and Georgia Walker, Larry Mizel of Denver and Richard Lucibella of Oceanridge, Fla. Transcor is a large prisoner transportation company and Aramark is another large company, which has the contract for food service at the county jail.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico
A convicted murderer from North Dakota en route to Oregon used a handcuff key smuggled in his shoe to unlock his handcuffs, climb through an air vent and escape from a secure transport van operated by TransCor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corrections Corp. of America. Although the escaped occurred around 4:00 a.m., it wasn’t reported to police until 3:00 p.m. - 11 hours after the fact. (Albuquerque Journal, October 13, 1999)

South Carolina
A Clarksburg manhunt involving state and local police was under way this morning for an escaped prisoner armed with a shotgun and five shells, authorities said. Eight other prisoners also escaped about 5 a.m. from a van being used to transport them, but were later recaptured. The van had stopped so guards could allow the prisoners to go to the restroom at the Eastpointe Chevron, said Greg Cumberling, a clerk at the service station. One of the guards came into the store to fill a 5-gallon jug with water and ice, Cumberling said. Then, Cumberling was waiting on another customer when the guard went back outside the store. "He came back in and said, 'Call the cops. There's a fight in the parking lot,' " Cumberling said. Then, Cumberling said, he saw the van take off with the back doors open. He said another guard came through the door shouting, "Call the cops - they just escaped." (Charleston Daily Mail, September 28, 2001)

Tennessee
A TransCorp van rear-ends a semi on Interstate 40 sending a dozen inmates and two guards to the hospital. The inmates where being transported to Nashville. (The Commercial Appeal, July 14, 2000)

Tower City, North Dakota
October 7, 2011 AP
A manhunt for a convicted sex offender who was flushed from a North Dakota cornfield with the help of farmers in combines cost law enforcement about $55,000, and local authorities said Friday that the transport company moving the inmate should pay the bill. California-based Extradition Transport of America was moving Joseph Megna from Florida to Washington state. Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said the company, which is bonded and insured for such incidents, is cooperating and should pick up the tab. "Their mishandling of this situation cost the taxpayers of all these entities a lot of money," Laney said. Laney said the company could face sanctions under a federal law, sponsored by former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, that was prompted by the escape of a man who murdered a Fargo girl in 1993. Kyle Bell, convicted of killing 11-year-old Jeanna North, fled in 1999 from a private prison transport bus. Extradition Transport of America declined comment. Megna, 29, escaped during a rest stop Tuesday night near Tower City. Authorities said he was in plain clothes and wasn't handcuffed. He surrendered Wednesday afternoon after farmers in a half-dozen combines - each with SWAT team members as escorts - harvested about 100 acres of corn. "This is unique in the sense that, God bless North Dakota, we bring everybody together to solve the problem and we put guys up on combines," Laney said. Megna was surprised by the attention he received. "Am I famous for running into a cornfield?" he asked a group of reporters through an open window in the back seat of a police sport utility vehicle. Costs include officer overtime, fuel and mileage for ground vehicles, a helicopter and an airplane. The farmers who volunteered their time and equipment will be compensated for fuel, mileage and wear and tear on the combines, Laney said.

October 5, 2011 INFORUM
A high-risk sex offender who escaped a prisoner transport van and sought refuge in a cornfield near here was nabbed by law enforcement about 2:30 p.m. today. Joseph Megna, 29, said he's a vegetarian and the "transport lady" was serving him nothing but bread and cheese. "I was starving and that's why I escaped and fled out into the cornfield," he said after being captured. "I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.” Authorities tapped the help of local farmers in an attempt to end the large-scale manhunt that began more than 20 hours ago after Mgna, a convicted high-risk sex offender from Washington state, fled a transport van near here Tuesday.

Transcor America
April 9, 2012 Courthouse News
A prisoner-transportation company may have to pay punitive damages if it loses a wrongful death suit over an inmate who died of heatstroke, a federal judge ruled. On June 23, 2009, Joseph Curtis was transported from the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., through Illinois, to the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. The temperature that day was 95 degrees, and the TransCor America van bringing Joseph to Terre Haute had a broken air conditioner. Joseph passed out en route and died later that day. The autopsy listed heatstroke as cause of death, a homicide. Brett Curtis, Joseph's son, filed suit for negligence and wrongful death. Curtis contended that TransCor management decided to continue the trip even though it knew about the broken air conditioner and the lack of a thermometer in the prisoner compartment. He also claimed that TransCor employees ignored other prisoners who indicated Joseph was in distress. When Joseph became unconscious, TransCor operations director Charles Westbrook allegedly directed the drivers to bring the inmate to the prison rather than a hospital. Though the case is pending in the Northern District of Illinois, Curtis asked the court to consider punitive damages under Tennessee law, which permits such awards in wrongful-death cases. TransCor is headquartered in Tennessee. U.S. District Judge James Holderman granted Curtis' motion, finding that "Tennessee law has the strongest connection to the facts and circumstances of this case as it relates to the imposition of punitive damages given that Tennessee was both the site of at least some of the alleged misconduct and is site of TransCor's headquarters." "The location of the injury was somewhat fortuitous in that Joseph had no choice as to how and when he was transported or where he became ill," Holderman wrote. "Nor is it solely TransCor's conduct in Illinois and Indiana that is at issue here. Curtis alleges that his father's death was the culmination of oversights and poor decisions by TransCor employees in Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois." "Illinois and Indiana have an interest in the application of their punitive damages law to a company that regularly does business in their states, but that interest is lessened where Joseph was not a resident of either state, and where the location of Joseph's injury was to a certain degree fortuitous," the March 29 decision states. "As a whole, the court finds that Tennessee has a stronger connection to the facts and circumstances of Joseph's death than does Illinois or Indiana, and that this connection is sufficient to overcome any presumption that the law of the place of injury should apply."

April 24, 2002
The American Civil Liberties Union disclosed Tuesday that it has obtained "a substantial settlement" for a female prisoner who said she was sexually assaulted by a guard while being transported between jails in Texas and Colorado.  The settlement ends a 3-year-old lawsuit filed against TransCor America, a Tennessee-based private extradition company, now owned by Corrections Corporation of America.  The amount was not disclosed.  "No woman should ever have to endure what our client went through," said Cynthia Kok, a co-counsel in the case.  "And no amount of money can make up for it."  The lawsuit alleges that in March 1998 she was assaulted while in shackles while being returned to Fremont County to face a theft charge.  Kok said she knows of four other lawsuits against TransCor, stemming from similar incidents, including two lawsuits in Colorado, one in Texas and one in Virginia.  In March, lawyers for TransCor admitted to the court that they had learned of five other cases of sexual misconduct by transport guards working for the company.  (Rocky Mountain News)

April 12, 2002
Corrections Corporation of America said its inmate transportation unit had reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit by two female detainees who claimed they were sexually assaulted by employees.   The plaintiffs had claimed the abuse occurred in 1999 while they were being transported to a Texas prison by CCA's TransCor America LLC subsidiary. The final settlement document will be confidential, Puryear said.   The agreement to settle the suit was disclosed yesterday in a company filing with the SEC that provided information on a recent agreement to refinance its debt.   In the filing, CCA also said that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections had put up for bid contracts that expired last month under which the company houses 2,535 state inmates at company-owned prisons in that state.   Instead of renewing CCA's contracts, Oklahoma put out a request for proposals that covers all inmates in six privately owned and operated prisons in the state, including three managed by other private operators.  (Tennessean.com)

November 18, 2001
A prisoner who escaped from a transport van at a West Virginia gas station after faking an illness and then overpowering the two transport officers has been captured in Georgia.  Christopher Savage, 28, was arrested in Valdosta, Ga., Friday night after leading police on a half-mile chase, said L.J. Trupo, United States marshal for the Northern District of West Virginia.  More than $6,700 worth of currency stained with ink, possibly from a bank robbery, was recovered from his Valdosta motel room along with a number of exotic pets, including snakes and ferrets, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Willie Richardson of the Middle Georgia District office.  Savage escaped Sept. 28 from a private transport company at a gas station parking lot in Clarksburg. He had been picked up at an Indiana jail and was en route to the Cambria County Jail in Pennsylvania.  Savage had complained of nausea and asked to use a restroom. While in the restroom, he was able to get out of his handcuffs, assaulted the two transport van officers and fled.  The van was driven by employees of TransCor America of Nashville, Tenn., a private prisoner transportation company.  (AP)

October 6, 2001
A former driver for a company transporting Harris County Jail inmates was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $5,000 Friday for sexually assaulting a female inmate he transported two years ago.  The assault allegedly occurred while Edwards and another driver, David Jackson, were picking up and dropping off inmates at other jails around the state.  Edwards and Jackson were employees of TransCor America, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company hired by the Harris County Sheriff's Department to bring inmates to Houston from other counties.  During the sentencing phase, a Rhode Island woman testified that Edwards had sexually assaulted her in a TransCor van during a trip from Denver to New Mexico in September 1999.  Jackson is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty earlier to improper sexual contact with a person in custody.  (Houston Chronicle)

October 1, 2001
A van driver transporting inmates to the Harris County Jail two years ago forced a female in custody to perform oral sex on him and at one point put a pistol inside her vagina, the woman testified today.  The driver, Michael Jerome Edwards, 37, of Bastrop, is charged with sexual assault. Testimony began Monday in state District Court in his trial.  "You will find the evidence disgusting," prosecutor Tommy LaFon told the jury in opening arguments. Defense attorney Charles Brown waived opening arguments.  The assault allegedly occurred while Edwards and another driver, David Jackson, were picking up prisoners from jails around the state. The two were employees of Transcor America, a private company contracted by the Harris County Sheriff's Department to bring inmates from other counties to Houston.  Jackson previously pleaded guilty to improper sexual contact with a person in custody and is awaiting sentencing.  (Houston Chronicle) 

September 28, 2001
A Clarksburg manhunt involving state and local police was under way this morning for an escaped prisoner armed with a shotgun and five shells, authorities said.  Eight other prisoners also escaped about 5 a.m. from a van being used to transport them, but were later recaptured.   The van had stopped so guards could allow the prisoners to go to the restroom at the Eastpointe Chevron, said Greg Cumberling, a clerk at the service station.  One of the guards came into the store to fill a 5-gallon jug with water and ice, Cumberling said.  Then, Cumberling was waiting on another customer when the guard went back outside the store.  "He came back in and said, 'Call the cops.  There's a fight in the parking lot,' " Cumberling said.  Then, Cumberling said, he saw the van take off with the back doors open.  He said another guard came through the door shouting, "Call the cops - they just escaped."  (Charleston Daily Mail)

Waukesha County Facility, Waukesha, Wisconsin
A prisoner transportation company that has been accused of losing and mistreating inmates allowed the escape of a Wisconsin teen who later made his way to Texas, where he is charged with attempting to kill a police officer. Officials at TransCor America Inc. acknowledge their employee botched the case of the teenage runaway, who wasn't handcuffed when he fled Mitchell International Airport June 19. The Darien teen stayed on the lam for six days after escaping from the TransCor guard, stealing two cars in Missouri as he headed for Mexico, authorities said. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 27, 2001)

West Virginia
Three prisoners who were trapped in a van after it was hijacked in 2001 by a fellow prisoner have filed a lawsuit against the van's transport company and two of the company's former employees. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of Frederick Furlong, Michael Wolf and David Adams by Morgantown lawyer Jennifer McGinley in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg. In September 2001 Christopher Paul Savage overpowered two transport officers at a Clarksburg gas station after faking an illness. He then used the van he and other prisoners were being transported in to escape. Savage later abandoned the van and ran away on foot. He was arrested almost two months afterward in Georgia. The lawsuit alleges the transport drivers' negligence led to Savage's escape and the prisoners' kidnapping - during which, the prisoners were denied proper food, drink and bathroom breaks and were deprived of medication. The lawsuit alleges Nashville, Tenn.-based TransCor America, Inc. already knew of training and supervision problems among its drivers. (AP, August 15, 2003)

A prisoner who escaped from a transport van at a West Virginia gas station after faking an illness and then overpowering the two transport officers has been captured in Georgia. Christopher Savage, 28, was arrested in Valdosta, Ga., Friday night after leading police on a half-mile chase, said L.J. Trupo, United States marshal for the Northern District of West Virginia. More than $6,700 worth of currency stained with ink, possibly from a bank robbery, was recovered from his Valdosta motel room along with a number of exotic pets, including snakes and ferrets, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Willie Richardson of the Middle Georgia District office. Savage escaped Sept. 28 from a private transport company at a gas station parking lot in Clarksburg. He had been picked up at an Indiana jail and was en route to the Cambria County Jail in Pennsylvania. Savage had complained of nausea and asked to use a restroom. While in the restroom, he was able to get out of his handcuffs, assaulted the two transport van officers and fled. (AP, November 18, 2001)