Three inmates escaped from the Hill-Finklea Detention Center in South Carolina on Jan. 26. But they didn’t make it very far and were arrested within two hours of squeezing through their cell’s small window.
The Berkley County Sheriff’s office was notified of the escape in the morning—minutes after the escape— and they subsequently contacted other police departments and highway patrol, seeking their assistance in catching the culprits.
Michael Andrew Hutto, 29; Eric Evander Garner, 41; and Thomas Matthew Davidson, 33; are now charged with escaping from jail, and a $250,000 dollar bond has been set for each one.
Garner was previously charged with possession of a controlled substance, while Hutto was being detained for a burglary charge, according to jail records obtained by the Post and Courier. Davidson was being held for charges out of Cascade County, Mont.
‘What Were Y’all Thinking?’
On the day of the incident, the sheriff’s office published a social media post about the escape—and they didn’t hold back, even using hashtags like: #GottaBeQuickerThanThat, #WelcomeBack, and #DoNotPassGo.
WHAT WERE Y'ALL THINKING? #OhYeahYouWerentThree inmates that were being housed at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center…
One of the hashtags also questioned the route of escape, asking, #HowDidTheyFitThroughThatWindow? In the cell’s surveillance video, released by the detention center, you can see one of the inmates break or remove a window next to his top bunk. He then leads the group of jailbirds to their short-lived freedom.
Hutto was captured first as he traveled away from the facility on foot, and Garner was also caught within the hour, according to the post. Davidson was the swiftest, but was caught within two hours, after which all three were placed back in their cages—each one is now held in isolation.
An Overcrowded Jail Cell
The office also stated that the cell, from which the inmates escaped from, was meant to hold only six inmates. However, due to overcrowding, 15 inmates were present. It appears that overcrowding remains a problem at the jail, even though a third level was opened in 2016, according to a press release by the county.
According to an article by the Post and Courier, “Nearly 500 men [were] stuffed into a jail with 291 beds” as of Oct. 2018. As can be seen in the video, many of the inmates’ beds were simply mats on the floor.
In a more recent article, officials said that the jail currently holds “as many as 440 inmates—nearly 150 above what it’s meant to.” County Sheriff Duane Lewis told the Post and Courier that expanding the the jail is “a top priority.”
After stating that the investigation is in process, the sheriff’s office underlined the problem in its social media post: #WeNeedABiggerJail.
To see more suspects and criminals who have been arrested by the sheriff’s office, visit their Facebook page here.
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