It was a tough night for folks in Huron, many of whom were woken up in the middle of the night by an automated call letting them know an inmate had escaped from the Beadle County Jail and he was probably armed.
He is still at large right now: Charles Beeney was arrested last month after leading cops on a car chase through Jerauld County.
We've learned Beeney has a history of doing this: he has previously escaped from jails in North Dakota and Kansas. And now....South Dakota.
It is the question Beadle County Sheriff Doug Solem has been asked all day...how was an inmate under lock and key on the second floor of the jail...with jailers on duty....able to escape? "He asked the jailer to come over..he said he had found something...at that time he produced a 45-caliber shell a complete live round..he gave it to the jailer and said 'here, I want you to have this. I also have one in my other hand.' and the jailer looked and it was a make shift type gun that he had made."
Where Charles Beeney got the bullets and the materials to make a homemade weapon...Solem doesn't know. Solem says all jailers wear radios and panic buttons in an effort to stop inmates from getting away. Charles Beeney knew this as well. "This particular guy said hold your hands out. You attempt to touch the panic button or radio and I'll kill you."
Beeney took the jailer at gunpoint downstairs then got away. A reverse 911 call went out to all residents of Huron and Beadle County. Reg Kleinsasser got the call and grabbed his gun. "Yeah, I loaded my AR...."
Residents were told to stay inside and not answer their doors. Kleinsasser followed that advice and kept his eyes open...looking for any sign of Beeney. "They said he could be armed so...you know what? If he's armed....I'm armed. Gotta protect your family."
And at the Beadle County Jail, SheriffSsolem says he knows people in Huron are wondering how all this could have happened and how a dangerous inmate could now be free again. The sheriff says Beeney's words to the jailer were hard to ignore. "If you don't do what I tell you I am going to kill you."
It's believed that after escaping from the Beadle County Jail, Beeney may have stolen a pick-up truck to get away. The pickup is a 1991 Ford 250....white and turquoise in color with South Dakota license plates 4CD 178. If you see Beeney or this vehicle contact police immediately: he is considered armed and dangerous.
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