Police catch 3 of 4 District youths who escaped from S.C. detention center

April 21, 2011

Police on Thursday captured three of the four District youths who escaped from a detention center in South Carolina on Wednesday evening. The youths were caught in the area near the center.

The fourth, who was still on the run Thursday afternoon, had been sent to the center for a murder charge, said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D- Ward 1), who oversees the city’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

All four are between 17 and 19 years old, he said.

The 60-bed Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Center in Summerville, S.C., is a placement facility for DYRS. It offers treatment programs for teens with sexually aggressive behavior, substance abuse problems and other behavioral issues.

One of the teens who was recaptured had escaped from two other facilities, Graham said.

Another was sent to the center for a destruction of property charge and the third for reckless driving, he said. It was unclear why those two were placed in the South Carolina facility.

Officials declined to say how the teens escaped or how three were caught.

The four fled Palmetto about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries to staff or residents of the facility.

Police in the Summerville area are searching for the remaining youth.

The escape came two days after a District teenager beat a guard and ran from the New Beginnings secure youth detention facility in Laurel. Police are still searching for Treyvon Cortez Carey, 18.

In response to that escape, overnight staffing at the facility was increased.

Tasha Williams, chairwoman of the union that represents correctional officers at New Beginnings, said she is meeting with DYRS Interim Director Neil Stanley on Friday to present a list of additional security upgrades officers think necessary to keep officers and residents safe.

When Carey escaped from New Beginnings on Monday, he popped the lock on his dorm door, beat an officer, stole the guard’s key card and used it seven times to open doors to escape, authorities say. He then took a nearby ladder and scaled a fence.

Graham said Tuesday that nine cameras, which he said should have been actively monitored in a control room, captured the assault and escape.

A warrant was filed Tuesday charging him as an adult with assault on a police officer, according to D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump.

Staff writer Justin Jouvenal contributed to this report.

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