Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017

Attempted North Carolina prison break leaves several injured

By The Associated Press

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — Several employees of a North Carolina prison were injured Thursday during an attempted inmate escape, correction authorities said.

The attempted breakout from Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City involved fires set in the prison's sewing plant, the state Department of Public Safety posted on its Twitter account. A spokesman for the state prison system said he could not provide details about what happened or how many were injured.

Elizabeth City's Sentara Albemarle Medical Center received six people requiring treatment, hospital spokesman Peter Sengenberger said.

The prison houses nearly 900 adult, male felons in both high-security and minimum-custody buildings. Minimum-security prisoners work outside the walls on road gangs for the county recycling department and perform other community labor. Elizabeth City is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Norfolk, Virginia, and near North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The local public school district locked doors at three nearby schools after getting word about 3:30 p.m. of the escape attempt. The notice came just as Pasquotank High School students were due to be released for the day and after dismissal times for the elementary and middle schools, said Tammy Sawyer, a spokeswoman for Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools. Buses were ordered to back to their schools with any students still in transit.

"We didn't want kids home alone or in transport with the potential situation that was unfolding," Sawyer said. Local emergency management officials said about 5 p.m. it was again safe for students to return home. But they were only being released to adults meeting children at their homes or picking them up at school.

An argument between two inmates at the prison April led to one prisoner stabbing the other several times in the upper torso. Two months earlier, a prison guard was charged with trying to smuggle illegal drugs, phones and cigarettes behind the walls.

2017-10-12 21:38:30 GMT

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