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Prison, Hospital Staff Review Inmate Escape Attempt

July 8, 2014, 9:58 PM by Brady Mallory

Prison, Hospital Staff Review Inmate Escape Attempt

After an inmate tried to escape during a hospital visit Sunday night, prison and Avera officials are working to prevent any situations like this in the future.  An ambulance took inmate Alonzo Young to Avera McKennan Hospital on Sunday night.  Young claimed he took a substantial amount of medication. 

On Monday, he went into the bathroom in his hospital room.  He came back out waving a weapon at correctional officers that he had made out of an eight and a half inch long metal object.

"Staff did their job to keep people safe," Darin Young, South Dakota State Penitentiary Warden, said.

Two D.O.C. officers and hospital staff wrestled the weapon away and restrained Young to the bed. Warden Young said officers did not follow Young into the bathroom, but were inside the hospital room when the incident occurred.

Warden Young would not confirm what pills Young took or how many.  He also did not specify what was used to make the weapon.  All of that is under investigation.

"In this case, it was a good outcome, but I need to make sure that whatever happened, we prevent that from happening again," Young said.

Prison and hospital officials have reviewed the incident and will decide whether it could affect future hospital transports. Warden Young says inmates needing medical attention are first assessed inside the prison.  If needed, they are transported to the hospital.  Warden Young said, on average, 1,200 prisoners are taken to the hospital every year.  This is the first escape attempt, in general, in more than a year. 

Avera's Vice President of Hospitality, Tom Bosch, said patients and visitors do not need to worry.

"This is very, very isolated.  They can come to Avera and Avera McKennan with complete confidence.  We're here for them.  Their safety is paramount," Bosch said.

Young, who is serving time for robbing Taco John's on West 12th Street in Sioux Falls and other crimes, could face more charges for his escape attempt. 

"The situation presented itself, staff responded and were able to take control of the situation rather quickly.  My understanding is it was a matter of seconds they were able to get control of him," Young said.

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