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Suspect steals deputy's vehicle during transport

Jonathan R. Covington/ Photo
Chase ends on Barton Chapel Road about two miles from Bobby Jones Ford around 3 a.m.
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CRAWFORDVILLE, Ga. --- The sheriff of Taliaferro County, Ga., faulted the actions of a 28-year veteran of his office for the escape by an inmate charged with two murders that started a three-county car chase and ended with a crash in Augusta early Tuesday.

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Double-murder suspect Andre Maurice Jackson led police in three counties on a chase that ended in a crash Tuesday. Police say he stole a Taliaferro County deputy's Chevrolet Tahoe in which he and two other inmates were being transported. He was later caught.   JONATHAN R. COVINGTON/SPECIAL
JONATHAN R. COVINGTON/SPECIAL
Double-murder suspect Andre Maurice Jackson led police in three counties on a chase that ended in a crash Tuesday. Police say he stole a Taliaferro County deputy's Chevrolet Tahoe in which he and two other inmates were being transported. He was later caught.


"There was a human error," Sheriff Marc Richards told reporters at a news conference. "Twenty-eight years, we all make mistakes, and that was a mistake."

Richards said, however, that neither he nor Deputy Daryl Evans, who was tasked with transporting three inmates to Augusta State Medical Prison, knew of Andre Maurice Jackson's history of violence.

"I was not aware of the circumstances at that time," Richards said.

Jackson, 30, whose nickname is "Poncho," has been charged in the June 29 slaying of L.V. Wilson, 38, whose body was found in 1900 block of Haynie Drive in Augusta.

He also was charged in the July 2 death of Janee Jquanda Johnson, who was found stabbed in her apartment in the 800 block of Spruce Street.

Investigators in Richmond County are still looking into whether Jackson might have been involved in other area homicides, but they would not say which ones.

Jackson had served three years of a five-year sentence at Lee State Prison in Leesburg, Ga., for theft by extortion when he was released on parole in July 2009. His parole was revoked when deputies in Richmond County charged him with the murder of Wilson.

With drug convictions dating back to 1999, Jackson is someone they should have known more about, Richards acknowledged.

Jackson and two other inmates were being taken to Augusta State Medical Prison on Tuesday to await transfer to other state prison facilities.

Jackson had been taken to Taliaferro County last week for a court date involving an April 2010 arrest on DUI and marijuana possession charges, the sheriff said.

He had been in the Wilkes County jail -- where the Taliaferro County Sheriff's Office houses all its inmates -- awaiting transportation to Augusta.

About 3 a.m. Tuesday, Evans parked the unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe he was driving at a Waffle House in Thomson to buy breakfast for the three inmates.

Leaving them alone inside the sport utility vehicle, the deputy forgot to remove the keys from the ignition when he walked inside.

A few seconds later, two of the inmates -- identified as Johosephis Pierce, 32, and Bradford Reid, 29 -- went into the restaurant and said Jackson had told them to get out or go with him.

"Just as soon as he got to the cash register, he turned around, he looked and the inmates were coming in the door and the Tahoe was leaving," Richards said.

Stopping to buy food is not usual procedure, but "it happens," the sheriff said.

There was no barrier between the inmates and the deputy inside the SUV, the sheriff said. Although secured with handcuffs and leg-irons, Jackson had managed to get into the driver's seat and take off, the sheriff said.

Columbia and Richmond County deputies chased him, at one point deflating three of his tires with stop sticks. Still, Jackson continued to drive until crashing at Barton Chapel Road and Frankie Industrial Boulevard.

He got out of the SUV and ran but was soon captured.

In response to questions about his department's procedures -- including the lack of a barrier to prevent the inmates from entering the front seat and the absence of an additional guard -- Richards said budget cutbacks have hobbled his small department.

He said he is considering disciplinary action against the deputy, in addition to a review of procedures on inmate transfers.

Jackson is now charged with fleeing and attempting to elude an officer, reckless driving and obstruction of an officer, according to Richmond County jail records.

He also faces charges of escape and motor vehicle theft in McDuffie County, Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Robbie Silas said.

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huntnbaysmum4
0
Points
huntnbaysmum4 05/10/11 - 08:19 am
0
0
Waffle House? Really? Another

Waffle House? Really? Another great use of our tax dollars.

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 05/10/11 - 08:44 am
0
0
Not many places open at 3am.

Not many places open at 3am.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 05/10/11 - 08:54 am
0
0
He will be in jail for a long

He will be in jail for a long time and should be.

urright
462
Points
urright 05/10/11 - 09:08 am
0
0
1. Why were they being

1. Why were they being transported at 3:00 am?
2. Why stop at Waffle House?
3. Was there only one deputy transporting?
4. Why were there three inmates in one car?
5. Why were they being transported in an unmarked SUV?
6. That about the other two inmates--did they get out before the chase?
7. Were the inmates properly restrained with handcuffs/belly chains?
And on, and on, and on...

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/10/11 - 10:41 am
0
0
According to TV news

According to TV news media,

They were being transported at 3am from Wilkes County Jail to the Augusta State Medical Prison, as to why 3am, there isn't anything that isn't routine about transporting prisoners at times of low volume. Stopping at the Waffle House for a trip that is less than 2 hours shouldn't seem necessary, I agree, especially with only one officer. Transporting three inmates at once is nothing out of the ordinary nor is transporting in unmarked law enforcement vehicles. The other two inmates came running into the Waffle House as this occurred and were kicked out by Jackson. All inmates had on handcuffs and leg irons as per protocol and Jackson still had his own when captured by Richmond County.

When this is fully reviewed, you will hopefully see that many officers & deputies are placed in these types of positions simply due to budget cuts. Many Georgia Sheriff's Offices have had their budgets greatly reduced or simply don't have the manpower to handle every call or transport according to national standards. I doubt very seriously this agency has an official transport vehicle properly designed to transport multiple prisoners, even a smaller type of portable jail vehicle that will transport up to 4 prisoners at once. I would also venture to say that manpower shortages don't allow for what politicians would consider to be the luxury of having 2 officers for all prisoner transports as should be the case. Without the funding and manpower, police must often make very difficult decisions that even they don't consider prudent or optimal but until situations such as this occur, they continue to go overlooked by those who issue the funding.

Even here in the CSRA with the RCSO, the number of deputies that have been cut over the past few years along with the additional budget cuts that have hurt the department do not allow for optimal law enforcement protection or response. At times, deputies are handling a call with a call pending. In a smaller county such as Taliaferro, it isn't unheard of to only have 2 deputies working the entire county relying on back up from other counties or the GSP so transporting prisoners simply can't be assigned to 2 deputies at once.

Law Enforcement should always review policies and procedures to make things better but just as you should never blame the victim; the real criminal here is Jackson who the system has repeatedly allowed to return to the streets. All of these additional charges will hopefully keep him away for a long time and he will now be under a different classification for transport since he will be charged with escape.

d1zmljqg
845
Points
d1zmljqg 05/10/11 - 10:42 am
0
0
What, a two time convicted

What, a two time convicted murderer got away this easy? It says something about our sheriff and his deputies IMO. I'm sure we are all happy that Poncho is back in custody to continue his imprisionment (for a long time, hopefully.) Those responsible for his "escape" should be thoroughly examined for their qualifications wrt their jobs.

rmajor
8
Points
rmajor 05/10/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
You know what? I think

You know what? I think everything was handled reasonably well. This gaurd has a job. It's always easy from someone on the outside looking in to become judge and jury, however, he is a normal, man with a job. The "criminal" is the one who once again, showed "criminal" behavior. As free, blessed citizens, we have no idea of what it could possibly be like to guard or even be around criminals. Thank God for these folks who do this everyday. Someone has to do it, to keep good folks like us comfortable. Just like the military, we are free because of what they do....not what we do. Thank God no one was hurt or injured. That is a blessing and he is off the streets and charged as applicable.

corgimom
26089
Points
corgimom 05/10/11 - 11:32 am
0
0
Interesting story.

Interesting story.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/10/11 - 11:36 am
0
0
Human Error they say. It

Human Error they say. It could have been a pretty big human error if he'd gotten to someone else & killed them.

It's also a good thing he didn't damage private property or kill another driver while he was out on his "joy ride".

Our nation MUST get tough on swifly enforcing the death penalty for these thugs. There is no reason for them to be wasting oxygen, food, taxpayer money and law enforcement's time. They are far better off 6 feet under. That is free.

Dixieman
12458
Points
Dixieman 05/10/11 - 12:05 pm
0
0
"Um, Miss? Sorry, but can

"Um, Miss? Sorry, but can you change that to a 'to go' order and let me have it right now so I can go get my patrol car back??"

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 05/10/11 - 12:01 pm
0
0
I believe the real question
Unpublished

I believe the real question is - If he is in prison for double murder, why are they wasting time and money prosecuting him for drug possesion and DUI? And further, it appears we will spend more money trying him for escape and who knows what else. The question is - how many years is he in prison for now and what possible reason is there for the public to spend MORE money to add years to an already long sentence?

Dixieman
12458
Points
Dixieman 05/10/11 - 12:07 pm
0
0
And the 28 year veteran law

And the 28 year veteran law enforcement officer LEFT THE KEYS IN THE VEHICLE???
C'mon.....

Sweet son
9526
Points
Sweet son 05/10/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Dixie, I suppose that those

Dixie, I suppose that those of you who have never made a mistake should "cast the first stone." It seems that many of you have!!!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/10/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
yeah, strange that he would

yeah, strange that he would leave his keys in the car at 3 in the morning. Especially around here.

one4u2nv
0
Points
one4u2nv 05/10/11 - 02:16 pm
0
0
No where does it say that he

No where does it say that he was in prison convicted of murder. What it says is that he has been charged with two murders. The charges that he was convicted of were most likely charges he received prior to the murder indictments.

Dixieman
12458
Points
Dixieman 05/10/11 - 02:38 pm
0
0
Sweet son - Sure, I have made

Sweet son - Sure, I have made LOTS of mistakes.
And when I make them, I expect to get chewed out for them.
And none of them have been as foolish as leaving keys in my car (which I never do under ANY circumstances) with three felons in it.

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 05/10/11 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Double murderer!!!Stopping at

Double murderer!!!Stopping at Waffle House!!!Keys left in vehicle!!!
This is gross incompetence...
Barney Fife could have done a better job...

devgru1
0
Points
devgru1 05/10/11 - 04:10 pm
0
0
An obvious breakdown in

An obvious breakdown in procedure by a rural county sheriff's office in the method of transport and an obvious breakdown in mental capacity by a sheriff's deputy by leaving his keys in the car and stopping at a Waffle House at 3 a.m.... And don't give me the old manpower shortage excuse either... This was just dumb from the beginning when the 3 inmates were put in the SUV with one deputy... I would also like to see how the restraints were being used in this case also... Lack of professionalism in a rural county sheriff's office, put other officers and the public in jeopardy.

corgimom
26089
Points
corgimom 05/10/11 - 04:21 pm
0
0
It's very common to feed

It's very common to feed prisoners on the way to court at 3 and 4 am. It's also very common to transport prisoners at 3 and 4 am.

Processing inmates takes more time then people think- it's not like you walk in, say "Let's go", and sail out the door.

What really needs to be asked is where did Jackson get the keys for the cuffs and leg irons, and how did he hide them on his person?

corgimom
26089
Points
corgimom 05/10/11 - 04:24 pm
0
0
As to putting 3 inmates in an

As to putting 3 inmates in an SUV with one deputy- budget cuts. It's bad, and it's getting worse.

As these counties and municipalities face more and more manpower and revenue cuts, things like this will happen more and more.

It's like the rant this morning about speeders- hey, when you cut manpower and vehicles, something has to give.

ADAMS
19
Points
ADAMS 05/10/11 - 04:44 pm
0
0
I guess it don't matter what

I guess it don't matter what time of morning it is. When you got to have it ,you will stop at any Waffle House to get some doughnuts.

Dixieman
12458
Points
Dixieman 05/10/11 - 05:48 pm
0
0
Krispy Kreme drive through

Krispy Kreme drive through window....

rmwhitley
5508
Points
rmwhitley 05/10/11 - 06:04 pm
0
0
A deputy for how many years?
Unpublished

A deputy for how many years?

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/10/11 - 11:33 pm
0
0
Devgru1, as we learn more, we

Devgru1, as we learn more, we understand more.

The Deputy was informed he was transporting prisoners for DUI's and misdemeanor marijuana charges from the Wilkes County Jail, nothing more, nothing less.

The prisoners were placed in proper restraints to include leg and wrist restraints - handcuffs and leg irons.

The prisoners were placed in an unmarked police vehicle (happens every day in GA) for transport. Probably because this rural county like many others simply do not have transport vehicles or secure transport vans. Don't you think every Sheriff and Deputy would love to have these? Do you think it is their fault or budget decisions that prevent this?

He was transporting them at 3am (happens every day throughout GA) and was stopping to get them food since when they arrive for the prison bus, they most likely would not get fed (also happens every day in GA) and therefore, he probably takes the more community service approach to policing vs. the military style of policing - no good deed goes unpunished as they say. The public wants nice and caring police officers until of course something happens then they want the cops from TV shows that kick butt and take no prisoners.

Then, as the Sheriff says the Deputy made a terrible error in judgment leaving these three shackled individuals in the vehicle with the vehicle running and in hindsight, I am sure the Deputy knows this as well now. Because he is a police officer his mistake at work will be judged by so many with no knowledge of the entire situation or his previously unblemished 28 years of service to community and country. He will receive punishment for his mistake while criminals continue to work the system each and every day, like this violent thug that he was transporting. Don’t get me wrong, a mistake was made so the Sheriff has no alternative but to issue disciplinary action and hold him accountable for his actions as a deputy.

You can call it dumb all you want and you can rant about the Sheriff or the Deputy or procedures but the bottom line is budgets do certainly way into this situation and many situations involving law enforcement. Do you really think that the deputy (any deputy) wouldn't rather have another deputy with him/her when transporting prisoners, especially at 3am? This exact same scenario happened to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office with a prisoner, Theresa Bumpkiss or something like that a few years back and has happened to many other large agencies that also are having manpower shortages. Sometimes commissioners or boards provide the additional funding as needed to ensure transports are handled by two officers and sometimes they don’t. I agree there should be two officers/deputies and I bet you couldn't find a deputy or Sheriff to disagree with you. However, when you are told to transport, you had better transport if you want to have your job. If the money/manpower isn't there, it just isn't there and it certainly is a contributing factor (not the only on) but certainly a contributing one. If you or others really want to help make things better then support your local Sheriffs and Police with your local politicians. Let your elected leaders know that you don’t like officers or the public being put in undue harm – because when you review most of these types of cases, it is the transport officer that is injured or killed and it does happen more often than one would think to include transfers, prison assignments and even “routine” hospital visits for inmates. So, again, if you really think that there should always be 2 deputies by all means find out your counties policy and work with the leader of the agency or Sheriff to help him/her get the funding to implement better security services.

Additionally, the type of prisoner transport vehicle can be a factor and again some small agencies and departments don't have the resources for such "luxuries" as deemed by local commissioners or boards or councils so they do the best with what they have and when something goes wrong, they take the heat, take the blame and then "hopefully" the commissioners, etc. finally understand that Public Safety should be their number one priority instead of like in Richmond County where we waste 5 million on public transportation subsidies or almost a million subsidizing a golf course while at the same time cutting Sheriff Strength's budget, manpower, etc. along with furlough days. The RCSO can certainly use your support in helping to get the commissioners to properly fund the department and I am sure most other Sheriff’s and agencies would greatly appreciate assistance in matters such as these.

The bottom line is the deputy made a bad mistake but it was just that, a mistake. It was unlike a conscious decision made by the criminal who actually broke the laws and put people in danger. Law Enforcement can only do so much and especially with so little to accomplish their tasks. Look are ALL of the ways this scenario could be improved and implement changes but don’t just solely look to the lone employee all of the time.

As with all situations such as this, policies will be reviewed, procedures will be looked at, recommendations will be made and funding will be requested. It is no different from when we have a school shooting and everyone questions why we don't have a police officer for every school in Columbia County instead of just a few. The last school shooting in Columbia County helped to get officers for each high school but prior to the shooting, “they weren’t a need” was straight from the school board. When something happens then the politicians will react until then, Sheriff's, Chief’s and law enforcement officers simply work with what they have.

I think it speaks very highly of the Sheriff that he is personally out in front of this instead of turning it over to a deputy, liason officer, investigator or PR Person. He immediately acknowledged a problem occurred, promised to look into revisions and after a full review will issue disciplinary action or policy changes as needed (so long as he can get the funding to do so) although he didn't add that part, it is certainly essential.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/10/11 - 08:41 pm
0
0
asitis....it was a terrible

asitis....it was a terrible mistake. With OR without prisoners, leaving your keys in the ignition while running into a Waffle House at 3 a.m. is just plain irresponsible. The situation likely wouldn't have happened if he had taken his keys in with him. Any stranger walking by could have seen the keys in the car and decided to drive off with the vehicle.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/10/11 - 08:48 pm
0
0
Patty, I couldn't agree more,

Patty, I couldn't agree more, it was a terrible mistake. However, many police agencies have policies in place requiring the vehilce to be left running so as to keep the camera system's running. Police vehicles have even been stolen on traffic stops before. Therefore, police policies should ALWAYS be looked at for improvement prior to and after incidents such as this. The deputy did wrong, I get it and he will be dealt with although frankly, I am sure he knows now what kind of mistake he made and will never make it again.

It just bothers me so much that so many love the chance to jump on the bandwagon when an officer makes a mistake and they ignore or are unaware of all of the other circumstances at the time and in general. The recent article of the officer who simply missed a voice/email from Columbia County to provide for a security officer at an event comes to mind. He has 16 years of excellent service, 18 letters of comendation and misses an e-mail and many within the comunity look to blame him for a shooting that occurred at the communtiy center vs. the actual shooter. It is a no win thankless job for so many who deserve so much more of our respect and appreciation.

corgimom
26089
Points
corgimom 05/10/11 - 08:55 pm
0
0
"and then "hopefully" the

"and then "hopefully" the commissioners, etc. finally understand that Public Safety should be their number one priority instead of like in Richmond County where we waste 5 million on public transportation subsidies or almost a million subsidizing a golf course while at the same time cutting Sheriff Strength's budget, manpower, etc. along with furlough days. "

You forgot study after study, including trolley studies and parking meter studies, and "Master Plans" with no possible way of funding the huge costs associated with them, plans to promote tourism that doesn't exist, ballparks and convention centers that won't ever make money, Halls of Fame, and I could go on and on.

Speaking of which, anybody heard how the TEE center bookings are coming along? Is there more than one booking now, or will Sheriff Strength have to cut even more deputies to pay for that boondoggle?

corgimom
26089
Points
corgimom 05/10/11 - 09:01 pm
0
0
I'm not so sure it was a

I'm not so sure it was a mistake.

3 people confined in an SUV, in handcuffs and leg irons, have to stop and get food (even prisoners need to eat), bathroom break. Can't roll the windows down, so do you lock them in a car without air conditioning running?

My personal take on this is that he was told to feed them before depositing them at the Prison, which is normal, and since he was by himself- through no fault of his own- he couldn't shut the car off because of the heat and humidity, and yes, to keep the security camera running.

I still want to know where Jackson got the handcuff key.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/10/11 - 09:06 pm
0
0
asitis...not sure how many

asitis...not sure how many placed blame on the officer for the shooting in Columbia County but I don't feel he was to blame for the incident at all.
I do feel that perhaps a look into the type of vehicle being used for transport is essential...the prisoner seemed to be fully capable of getting to the front drivers seat with little difficulty, which could prove to be unsafe for anyone transporting prisoners even if there were another deputy. It also does not seem costly to have the vehicles marked with something so that people are somewhat aware of who is in the vehicle.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 05/10/11 - 09:14 pm
0
0
I guess I must be a mean

I guess I must be a mean one....I don't really care if they were hungry. If they were still confined to a cell WHO would be fetching them something to eat at 3 in the morning?

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