Walla Walla County Jail inmate's escape short-lived

Warren D. Summers made his escape Tuesday evening but was recaptured by city police a short time later.

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WALLA WALLA -- A Walla Walla man is back in jail this morning after a brief escape from the Walla Walla County Jail on Tuesday evening.

The inmate, Warren D. Summers, 55, of Walla Walla, had been in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting at the jail about 7:30 p.m. when he timed an escape to coincide with visitors passing through the jail's main lobby, said jail Capt. Jim Romine.

Romine said Summers used the distraction and movement of jail visitors to rush out of the meeting in a conference room near the main lobby. Summers knocked over visitors to get through one security post, then made his way to a locked glass security door, where he used ceramic tile secured from a shower stall to shatter the glass. Using his hands to shove aside the remaining glass, Summers made it through the security door and out the jail's front door into the street.

But Summers' escape was short-lived. Walla Walla Police Sgt. Mike Moses and Officer Dan Lackey detained Summers in the 300 block of South Third Avenue shortly after he left the jail, Romine said.

Romine said the escape was not randomly executed, but rather planned over time.

"He'd been planning this for about three weeks, from what we can determine," he said.

Summers had been at the jail since a Nov. 19 arrest. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to burglary and theft charges that were expected to bring him several years in prison. Summers remains at the jail awaiting sentencing.

Summers could face charges of first-degree escape and first-degree malicious mischief.

The jail's visiting hours were suspended overnight given the condition of the door. Repairs were ongoing this morning and visiting hours were expected to resume this afternoon, Romine said.

Romine said the escape was captured on the jail's surveillance video. The guests who were shoved aside were not injured.

The escape has prompted a review of procedure as well as maintenance needs at the jail, Romine said. Romaine said it was not clear if Summers used a tool to pry off the tile, or simply used his hands on old, loose tile. He said the jail was starting a review by working with its maintenance staff to cover or replace the tiles.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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