Top Stories of 2007, #7: Jail inmates escape

Top Stories of 2007, #7: Jail inmates escape

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Alex Cabrero reportingWe're continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Stories in Utah for 2007 with number seven, which takes us back to September, when two convicted murderers escaped from the Daggett County Jail.

Danny Gallegos and Juan Diaz-Arevalo slipped through an unlocked door, climbed a 12-foot fence onto a roof, then jumped to the ground and freedom. A day later, when residents first heard about the escape on the news, they wondered why they weren't warned and why their small county jail had such dangerous state inmates in the first place.

Top Stories of 2007, #7: Jail inmates escape

Jack Ford, with the Utah Department of Corrections, said, "The counties pick and choose the inmates they'll take. We can't send them management problems. We can't send them mentally ill. We can't send them inmates who have a medical problem."

Family members of the victims who were killed by the two murderers were the most concerned. Robert Seneca said, "We're under police protection. I sent the kids away. Basically, it stirs up my life. We're looking over our shoulder all the time."

A week later, 911 dispatchers received a call from a man who said the two men tied him up and took his car. Police found that car, and after a shootout, caught the two in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Eventually, the entire Utah Department of Corrections took all state inmates out of county jails and made sure all those jails were secure before allowing them back in.

The jail commander and other corrections deputies resigned as a result of this case.

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