Richland tightens up jail procedures
Authorities have made changes at the Richland County, N.D., jail in Wahpeton in the wake of an escape Thursday that led to an all-day manhunt. All prisoners except those given work-release privileges will now have their cell doors locked at night...
Authorities have made changes at the Richland County, N.D., jail in Wahpeton in the wake of an escape Thursday that led to an all-day manhunt.
All prisoners except those given work-release privileges will now have their cell doors locked at night, preventing access to secure day rooms, said Gary Ruhl, chief deputy of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
In addition, jailers will not carry keys in secure areas. Instead, dispatchers will control access in and out of these areas, Ruhl said.
Those changes and more to come were prompted by Charles Leroy Beeney, who made an initial appearance in Richland County District Court Tuesday on escape and theft charges.
Beeney, 38, is charged with theft of property and escape using a dangerous weapon.
The escape charge is a Class B felony and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Beeney fled about 2:40 a.m. Thursday after using a steel leg from his bed to force an unarmed corrections officer to unlock doors at the jail, court documents said.
The Sheriff's Department identified the jailer Tuesday as John Dozak, 59, of Wahpeton.
Dozak wasn't hurt.
Beeney confronted Dozak in a secure day room area after stepping out of his unlocked cell during a bed check, authorities said.
After leaving the jail, Beeney took a pickup truck, which a short time later became mired in a snowy field, according to the Sheriff's Department and court papers.
Beeney was on the loose for about 15 hours until a rural Galchutt, N.D., man found him hiding in the loft of a machine shed and called authorities.
The theft and escape charges were combined with misdemeanor counts stemming from a high-speed chase Dec. 2, Assistant Richland County State's Attorney Ron McBeth said.
Beeney's next court appearance is set for Jan. 25. He remains in the Richland County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555. Reporter Steven Wagner contributed to this article.