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Utah jail escapees sentenced to prison in Nebraska

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 6:16 p.m. MST

VERNAL — Two state inmates who escaped from the Uintah County Jail in September have been sentenced to prison in Nebraska, where they were captured.

Dallas Ephraim Derrick and Jason Max Braham were sentenced Wednesday in Lancaster County District Court to serve 20 to 24 months in prison. Court records show the men each pleaded no contest to a felony theft charge for stealing a car from an apartment complex.  

Derrick, 31, and Braham, 21, were arrested Sept. 23 after that stolen car stalled near Lincoln, Neb. They were walking away from the vehicle, when a sheriff's deputy stopped to offer assistance and learned the men were fugitives.

The men were serving time in the Uintah County Jail under a contract with the Utah Department of Corrections, when they pried open the door of a laundry room maintenance closet on Sept. 19, according to investigators.

After gaining access to the closet, Derrick and Braham managed to crawl outside through a 13-by-23-inch opening that serves as the cold-air intake for the jail's commercial clothes dryers. They then walked across the jail's back parking lot, hopped a fence and crossed through a field, jail surveillance video shows.

About one mile from the jail, the pair stole a sport-utility vehicle from the driveway of a home, Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said.

Authorities say the men were able to make the 811-mile journey from Utah to Nebraska by stealing multiple cars.

"As soon as they would run out of gas, they would steal another vehicle," Laursen said in September, adding that "every vehicle had keys in the ignition."

Derrick and Braham are charged in 8th District Court with escape from official custody, a second-degree felony, and damaging a jail, a third-degree felony.

Derrick was scheduled to be paroled in April 2017. Braham was scheduled to go before the state Board of Pardons and Parole in November 2016. 

Both men, who were given credit for the four months they've already spent in the Lancaster County Jail, will serve their prison sentences in Nebraska before being returned to Utah.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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