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DOC report details several mistakes made during Ga. prisoners' fatal escape

DOC report details several mistakes made during Ga. prisoners' fatal escape

The Georgia Department of Corrections posted the following notice Friday, July 21, regarding its investigation of the escape of inmates Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose from a DOC transport bus on the Sparta Highway in Eatonton in the early morning of June 13.

They were on the run for two days after shooting and killing officers Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue while being transferred to another facility by transport bus.

The bus also left Baldwin State Prison before sunrise, despite a policy that says prisoners shouldn't be transported in the dark unless there's an emergency and pre-dawn transport is approved by the warden.

First, the inmates on the bus were not adequately searched, he said adding that Rowe and DuBose were able to bring a pin or toothbrush on board. Instead, their handguns were stored in storage boxes during the trip.

He also said other procedures will be changed to upgrade security. The report states that Dubose and Rowe were able to break into the compartment that separates the inmates from officers using either a toothpick or pen. Dozier said that the inmates unlocked the gate twice, once to steal food and drink from the officers, and another to escape.

Dubose removed his handcuffs two minutes after boarding the transport bus, according to the review.

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The FOX 5 ITeam and reporter Randy Travis reported this week that an unlocked door is being blamed for allowing two inmates to gain access to the restricted area of a prison bus.

Officers' weapons routinely are handed over to authorities as they enter prison gates and are given back on the way out. It took Rowe about a minute to get the door open using the implement he'd smuggled aboard, the report says.

He and Dubose rummaged through the officers' compartment and went through their lunches.

Sgt. Billue's ballistic vest was found inside his personal vehicle.

At 6:24 a.m., Dubose removed his prison uniform shirt and he and Rowe moved to the front of the bus. Dubose and Rowe originated from Baldwin State Prison were they, along with 11 other inmates, were searched via a pat down.

Since the deaths of Billue and Monica, the department already has implemented additional safety procedures requiring a trail vehicle follow transport buses around the state.

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The security chief also will not allow officers to retrieve their weapons if they are not wearing proper gear.

A camera that was on the bus that day helped investigators determine exactly what happened. The fourth breach came in the padlock on the security gate not being properly secured.

He also said transport officers will get annual refresher training, and the department will do an annual audit focusing exclusively on inmate transport.

DOC Commissioner Greg Dozier said during that transport, several mistakes were made.

Although the Georgia Department of Corrections is headquartered in Forsyth, the briefing is going to be held at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Atlanta.

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