Nebraska’s Corrections Director apologizes for the failures which led to the escape of two prison inmates.
State Corrections Director Scott Frakes is frank in his assessment of what went wrong.
“Last Friday, we failed our mission to keep people safe,” Frakes tells reporters during a news conference. “We will make no excuses for our failures.”
Though authorities captured 37-year-old Armon Dixon Saturday in Lincoln, 52-year-old Timothy Clausen remains at large, likely in the Omaha area.
Frakes says the Department of Correctional Services is cooperating with local law enforcement searching for Clausen. The department also has launched an investigation into what led to the escape. He denies overcrowding or under-staffing played a role.
Frakes says two inexperienced staffers failed to follow procedures in the laundry room in which the two escaped.
“These failures contributed directly to the escape of the two inmates,” according to Frakes.
Frakes says staff at the Lincoln Correctional Center made a series of missteps which led to the escape. Among them: allowing unauthorized inmates in the laundry room work area, not taking informal counts of inmates, and failing to supervise the loading and securing of laundry carts.
Dixon and Clausen snuck inside a laundry truck and cut a hole in its top to make their escape. They stole a pick-up and abandoned it after crashing into a parked SUV, injuring a couple of people. They eluded authorities on foot. Dixon was caught after assaulting two women in their Lincoln residence. They called police who trapped Dixon in the city storm water drainage system where he attempted to hide.
Both women, a mother and daughter, were treated for injuries. The 21-year-old daughter was treated and released at a Lincoln hospital. The 61-year-old mother was hospitalized.
“I apologize to the citizens who were injured on Friday in the vehicle accident and Saturday with the assaults and I apologize to Nebraska,” Frakes says. “This should not have happened.”
Lincoln Correctional Center Warden Mario Peart has been reassigned as the investigation continues. The warden at the state Diagnostic and Evaluation Center, Fred Britten, has been assigned as interim warden at LCC.
Authorities say a man matching Timothy Clausen’s description was spotted in northeast Omaha Sunday night. A search was called off at 3 o’clock Monday morning after failing to find him. Authorities believe Clausen remains in the Omaha area.
Clausen is considered dangerous. He was convicted and sentenced on charges of sexual assaults in Douglas County. The pubic is urged to call 911 if they see him and warned not to approach him.
A 50-year-old woman, Wanda Minor, has been charged with helping Clausen get from Lincoln to Omaha.
As the search for Clausen continues, the public is urged to call an emergency number, either 9-1-1 or the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline at *55 from any cellphone with any information. Information or tips that could lead to his capture can be reported to 911, Omaha Crimestoppers at 402-444-7876 or Lincoln Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]