Sheriff Valenza on escape: “I’m not happy”
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Sheriff Donald Valenza is reviewing Houston County Jail security measures after an inmate escaped on Saturday.
He points to several things that broke down and allowed Chase Miller to get out.
A kitchen trustee, he slipped through a door that had not snapped closed and then went through an outside security gate.
“The gate had a malfunction and a 10-to-12-inch gap in it,” the sheriff told reporters on Monday.
Because security cameras also failed, jail staff only realized that Miller had bolted once the chief cook alerted them when he missed Miller about an hour later.
“I can tell you right now, I’m not happy about him being on trustee status,” Valenza said of Miller’s kitchen duties.
While jail staff knew that Miller faced non-violent theft charges in Houston County, they were unaware he had pending robbery charges in Dale County, where investigators allege that he robbed a store clerk with a gun on February 6.
He has a history of escaping law enforcement, having eluded officers during a high-speed pursuit a day after the holdup.
Valenza did not reveal whether employees are facing discipline.
Miller’s flight to freedom lasted barely 24 hours, as officers captured him in Enterprise as he walked down a busy highway.
Valenza expressed appreciation to a dozen or so law agencies that assisted in the hunt.
Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.
Copyright 2023 WTVY. All rights reserved.