County Administrator: Electrical short, attack of officer led to Orangeburg jailbreak

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Like so many others, Harold Young is watching, waiting, and praying – with two dangerous inmates still on the run.

"I have a family, I have a wife, I have little kids – so yes – I want to see them caught just as well as anybody because I don't want anybody feeling like they don't feel safe in their community," Young said.

Young, Orangeburg County's Administrator, opened up his office doors Monday morning to explain what happened Saturday night when an electrical panel inside the jail shorted.

"Once it shorted, it allowed the pod area to release the door locks – like it's designed to – because if you have a fire or electrical fire, you don't want people to perish by not being able to get out of those cells," Young said.

Four inmates took advantage of the short, he said.

"It was a four-on-one scrap between one of the corrections officers, overpowered him, maced him with his mace, and basically got to the other panel to unlock other series of areas, and then, they ran back in, grabbed sheets and stuff, ran back out, and took off and got to the outside," the county administrator said.

With the jail now secure, and as the search for two inmates continues, Young says this 51-year-old jail is showing its age. It's so old, it's hard to even find spare parts to make repairs.

"When you have to upgrade these things, you're making one thing work with another to make this thing work – to keep the citizens safe," Young said.

Fortunately for Young, the future is already on the horizon – as workers break down on a new jail right next door to the old one.

Young said, once it's built, the new jail will have a better layout, better sightlines, and better technology – all harder to fool by escapees like these.

"The new facility will help put an end to these types of things," he said.

The new jail will cost around $30 million and take about another year-and-a-half to complete.

One of the three escaped inmates, Christopher Boltin, was detained in Lexington County late Sunday. Deputies are continuing to search for the two remaining inmates: Tyshon Demontrea Johnson and Curtis Ray Green. Johnson, 27, and Green, 20, are both facing charges of murder.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the two remaining inmates is urged to contact Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME SC (888-274-6372) or visiting www.midlandscrimestoppers.com or www.p3tips.com and click on the "submit a tip" tab. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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