The Provo Police Department is reviewing procedures used at the city jail following the escape Saturday of an inmate, according to a police spokesman. The inmate, Michael E. Preston, 27, Seattle, has not been apprehended.
Capt. Jerry Markling said he expects to receive reports from the communication and jail supervisors on jail procedures by midweek and said some changes may be made in operating procedures at the jail."I'm conducting an investigation into how an individual was able to escape and whether our procedures in the jail are adequate and whether we need to change some procedures," Markling said. "I'm sure there will be some changes made. I think a couple of mistakes were made and were made to a person that could take advantage of them and had that intent."
Markling said that until now, the procedures used at the jail were thought to be sufficient.
"We have been operating the jail for 17 years, and this is the first escape," Markling said.
Preston was arrested Friday night by Provo police on a King County, Wash., warrant for a rape charge and was booked into the Provo City Jail. Saturday, Preston asked the jailer for permission to shower; after dressing, Preston called the jailer over to the shower room, saying he had dropped something on the floor. He grabbed the jailer by the head and pulled him into the shower area, out of view of surveillance cameras.
Markling said several areas in the jail are out of range of the surveillance cameras - the booking room, the shower room and the food preparation area - and it is not unusual for the jailer or an inmate to be out of camera view. Only one jailer is on duty at a time; during the escape, there was one other inmate in the jail.
Preston initially attempted to get the jailer to open the sliding bar door; when the jailer refused, Preston beat him nearly unconscious.
Markling said Preston had been in the jail long enough that he was aware of what was needed to get the dispatcher to open the door.
"The suspect said what he had heard others say and was able to get the door open," Markling said.
A dispatcher noticed Preston leaving the building and alerted on-duty officers. However, Preston managed to run to a nearby house, where he told the occupants he had been in an accident and asked to use the phone to call a friend, who subsequently picked him up.
Pierpont said a woman interviewed by Provo police Monday told officers she had driven Preston to a bus depot in Salt Lake City.
Preston is described as black, 200 pounds and 5 feet 11 inches tall. A picture released by the Provo Police Department shows Preston has a slight beard. He was wearing blue jeans and a white sweat shirt at the time of his escape.