Three Escape Hamblen Jail Annex

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Morristown, Hamblen County (WVLT) - Three people are on the run after a jailbreak at the Hamblen County Jail Annex Wednesday night.

Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin says although the three men were being held in the minimum security part of the jail, they may be dangerous.

He says 20-year-old Christopher Michael Baker, 29-year-old Lester Eugene Bullion and 31-year-old Jamie Shaun Collins escaped from the Hamblen County Jail around 7:45 Wednesday night.

He says there are several factors at the jail that could have made it easier for these men to escape.

"On the other side of that is a secured door where they actually let the inmates come in," says Sheriff Jarnagin.

And that's where Esco Jarnagin says 20-year-old Christopher Michael Baker, 29-year-old Lester Eugene Bullion and 31-year-old Jamie Shaun Collins overpowered the deputy and made their escape.

"They ran out the door knowing that the back door which should have been secured, knowing it was unlocked because they had outside help and they ran through the back door and jumped into the vehicle," Jarnagin says.

The sheriff says the three men were serving less than a year on misdemeanor charges, they are now wanted for assault and escape.

A fourth person would also be charged in aiding the escape.

The incident was not caught on tape because the annex doesn't have cameras, a security flaw Sheriff Jarnagin says he's not pleased with. "It is not up to my standard, on the security aspects."

He says there are over 255 inmates in a jail built to hold 178. "They are very much overcrowded, I mean at night the floor is littered with mattresses that actually lays on the floor, they have to sleep on the concrete floor."

He says the security issues along with being understaffed and overcrowded could have aided in the escape.

"We are doing some studies on the jail, professional studies, we are having people come in so that we can project to the county commissioner the magnitude of the problem that we have here, and the solution to fix the problem," Sheriff Jarnagin says.

Jarnagin says the budget is preventing changes from being made.

He says the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department is working with county commissioners to fix the problems.

If you have any information on the escapees, call the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department.


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