State Department of Correctional Services Director Bob Houston has ended the inmate driving program in wake of a fatal accident in Lincoln.
Houston made the announcement during a news conference this afternoon.
“First and foremost, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family of Joyce Meeks,” Houston told reporters gathered at the department’s Lincoln Regional Center. “I can only imagine the devastating impact this tragedy has had on her family and certainly wish them to know that they have certainly been in my thoughts.”
Late on the evening of June 25th, inmate Jeremy Dobbe crashed into a mini-van driven by Joyce Meeks of Lincoln at an intersection in the city. Meeks died at the scene.
Dobbe has a history of driving offenses, including citations for driving under the influence.
The Lincoln Police Department is investigating the accident. Houston said the department is cooperating in that investigation.
Houston said he was out of the country when the incident occurred.
“Upon my return and consultation with my staff, I’ve determined we will no longer sustain the inmate van driver program,” Houston stated. “Inmates who are assigned to work detail will be transported by department staff.”
Houston estimated that the move will cost the department about $320,000. He said the program originally started in 1985 to save money and free staff for other duties. It had been run with few problems until last week.
AUDIO: Dept. of Correctional Services Director Bob Houston statement on inmate driver program. [2 min.]