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Prison inmate sentenced for 2012 escape from Uintah County Jail


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VERNAL — The second of two Utah prison inmates who escaped from the Uintah County Jail in September 2012 has been sentenced to serve up to six more years behind bars.

Jason Max Braham was ordered Tuesday to serve up to five years in prison for his guilty plea in 8th District Court to escape from official custody, a third-degree felony, with an additional one-year sentence for attempting to damage a jail, a class A misdemeanor.

The sentence is identical to the one meted out in August to fellow escapee Dallas Ephraim Derrick.

The men were serving time in the Uintah County Jail under a contract with the Utah Department of Corrections when they pried open the door of a laundry room maintenance closet on Sept. 19, 2012, according to investigators. After gaining access to the closet, Derrick and Braham managed to crawl outside through a 13-by-23-inch opening that serves as the cold-air intake for the jail's commercial clothes dryers.

The pair was arrested four days later, after the stolen car they were driving stalled near Lincoln, Neb. They were walking away from the vehicle when a sheriff's deputy stopped to offer assistance and learned the men were fugitives.

In January, Derrick and Braham were sentenced in Nebraska to serve 20 to 24 months in prison. Court records show the men each pleaded no contest to a felony theft charge for stealing a car from an apartment complex.

Authorities say Derrick, 32, and Braham, 22, were able to make the 811-mile journey from Utah to Nebraska by stealing multiple cars.

"As soon as they would run out of gas, they would steal another vehicle," Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said after the pair had been caught, adding that "every vehicle had keys in the ignition."

At the time of their escape, Derrick was scheduled to be paroled in April 2017, and Braham had a parole hearing set for November 2016. Both men are expected to finish serving their prison terms in Nebraska before being returned to the Utah State Prison.

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Geoff Liesik

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