It has been two days since a Florida prisoner escaped a prison transport van in rural South Dakota. The South Dakota Highway Patrol tells us the search has been scaled back for 31 year old Oscar Antonio Herrera-Menjivar, but are not giving up.
We wanted to learn more about how inmates are transported and had to look no further than Minnehaha County.
Authorities tell us the company that was transporting Herrera-Menjivar was a privately-owned prison transport service without any markings along the outside.
Though we don't know the details of the escape over the weekend, we wanted to find out how similar prisoners are transported here at home.
Minnehaha County has been transporting inmates around for years, sometimes every day. It's a shock to some that an inmate could actually get away and at a gas stop in Spencer, SD, it did.
"It's a surprise, you don't for see that happening and it's a rare occasion when it does happen," Sgt. Jason Gearman said.
Sergeant Gearman says he can only name a few occasions where they've had to hire our a private company to transport their inmates. They've got plenty of their own options.
"We generally do our transports on our own because we've been trained to do it, we know the people doing it, we don't have a stranger doing it. It has to be cost-effective and it has to be safe for us, the public and the person being transported," Sgt. Gearman said.
If an inmate is being transported in Minnehaha County, whether they're low-risk or high-risk, they'll sit in a van like this. If they even attempt to escape, it's going to be pretty hard.
"They can't get out of the van unless we let them out," he said.
While he can't speak for the company that transported this inmate, he can speculate how the inmate may have gotten away.
"He may have been handcuffed, shackled, if he had the plan to begin with, he may have had the opportunity and he planned it and it fell into place," Sgt. Gearman said.
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