The Yell County Sheriff is closing the Dardanelle jail after a group of inmates escaped due to a lack of security. Three escapees overpowered a jailer Sunday but people in the community fear worse could happen if the jail continues to operate with so little staff.
"Everyone was talking about it on Facebook saying lock your doors," Connie Biggs says.
When news of three jail escapees hit the internet, county resident Connie Biggs and her Yell county neighbors watched the drama unfold online as the law enforcement teams searched for Jackie Stobaugh, Bret Cooksey and Seth Crowning. Behind bars for a residential burglary, the trio overpowered the lone jailer on duty Sunday afternoon on their way in from an exercise break.
"It was kind of scary, I didn't like it," Morgan Parsons says.
"Since it was daylight when they did leave once it got dark and they were still looking for them, I think people were scared," says Kacey Parsons.
Captain John Foster was out there when crews cornered the escapees a few blocks from the jail roughly 10 hours after their escape.
"We have had escapes in the past, we have had over the years just less than a handful of officers jail officers assaulted," he says.
The incident prompted the sheriff to shut down the jail, one he says has been running too long with too few resources.
Captain Foster says, "A lot of the time on weekend and night shifts you're just shorthanded cause we just don't have the funding."
After Sunday's escape people here feel having zero jailers on duty, and the jail closed, is better than leaving it open with just one.
"I thought that's sad, one person being out here and that could happen at any point whether they're killers or drug addicts, they need more than one person," says Biggs.
The sheriff is closing the jail until the county invests more money into hiring enough staff. He says he's been asking for more resources since 2007.
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