The Utah Department of Corrections has completed its investigation into security lapses at the Daggett County Jail that allowed a pair of killers to escape.
"We could say it was systemic," corrections chief Tom Patterson said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "It needed to have an overall review. It was that way when the inmates escaped."
On Tuesday, Patterson traveled to Manila to review the investigation results with county officials there. Inmates at the Daggett County Jail have been in lockdown since last week when convicted murderers Juan Diaz-Arevalo and Danny Gallegos slipped through an unlocked door, over a razor wire fence and into the mountains nearby.
The pair were captured in Wyoming on Saturday after breaking into a camper trailer, tying up retired Salt Lake City police officer Bill Johnson, 79, stealing his SUV and leading police on a chase that ended in a shooting.
Diaz-Arevalo waived extradition during a court appearance in Green River, Wyo., on Tuesday, and is expected to be returned to Utah to face charges soon.
Corrections officials have been tight-lipped about the Daggett jail's specific problems but said there were procedural, technological and staffing issues. The door used by inmates in the escape from is electronically controlled but was not working. The deputy on duty that night was sick. He has since resigned.
"The primary concerns I have are in the management of the jail itself," Patterson said, adding that Daggett County officials are willing to make changes. "They have said they would do whatever was necessary to rectify the situation."
A Daggett County sheriff's spokeswoman did not immediately offer comment.
Patterson has laid down a series of timetables and requirements for the jail to improve before the inmate lockdown can be lifted. Because they deal with security, the corrections boss would not be specific about changes but called them "significant."
"We will be using our officers and staff to assist in helping make those implementations, even if it means temporarily assigning them to Daggett County," Patterson said.
Corrections officials have ordered a review of security at all 20 county jails with state contracts to house inmates. Patterson said he wants the reviews to be finished within 30 days.
On Monday, investigators inspected the Garfield County Jail in Panguitch.
"The review went very, very well," Garfield County sheriff's spokeswoman Becki Bronson said. "Historically, the Garfield County Jail is known for having very few problems, and they welcome the state to inspect their facility."
In August, a state inmate serving time for manslaughter escaped from the Garfield County Jail while washing cars. Tam Nguyen, 30, was arrested hours later after leading police on a chase in neighboring Kane County.
"The necessary corrections have been made, and we don't anticipate something like that happening again," Bronson said.
One killer who escaped from the Daggett County Jail will soon return to Utah to face a growing number of criminal charges.
Diaz-Arevalo, 27, made a brief appearance Tuesday morning before a circuit court judge in Green River, Wyo., and signed papers waiving extradition. For now, he remains in the Sweetwater County Jail in Rock Springs.
"It is anticipated that Utah officials will be in Sweetwater County over the next few days to transport him back to Salt Lake City," Sweetwater County sheriff's detective Dick Blust said.
Gallegos, 49, remains in critical condition at University Hospital in Salt Lake City. He was shot by police when the inmates were captured Saturday.
The Daggett county attorney has filed second-degree felony escape charges against Gallegos and Diaz-Arevalo in Manila's 8th District Court. More charges could be filed as early as today.
"There has not been a decision made yet," Daggett County Attorney Bryan Sidwell said Tuesday. "The feds may charge because there's guns involved."After breaking out, the convicted killers hid out in the mountains before breaking into a retired Salt Lake City police officer's camper trailer, about 14 miles from the jail. They tied up Bill Johnson, stole his SUV and some camping supplies and led police on a chase that ended in Rock Springs, where Gallegos was shot and Diaz-Arevalo was arrested after a foot pursuit.
E-mail: [email protected]