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Juveniles escape detention center, later apprehended

By KBell
Oct. 29, 2010 at 5:29 a.m.


Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Detention/Residential Facility Opened: Sept. 1, 1995

Serves: Juveniles in Victoria and contracting area counties

Beds: 72

Population served: Pre-court detention, post-court residential, male and female juveniles aged 10-17, up to 18 years of age if on probation; pregnant juveniles.

Operated by: Victoria County Juvenile Probation Office

Source: Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Detention/Residential Facility website

Two juveniles escaped from the Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Center at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The two boys, a 16-year-old from Lavaca County and a 15-year-old from Calhoun County, were apprehended around 3 p.m. in Gonzales County.

The juveniles were in the fenced recreation yard with about eight other juveniles when they assaulted a detention officer, took his radio and broke open a gate, said Pama Hencerling, chief juvenile probation officer.

They ran to a nearby business at the Victoria Regional Airport and took a white truck that had the keys in it, Hencerling said.

At 2:45 p.m., the Gonzales Police Department received a call about a hit-and-run wreck in the 1200 block of Church Street, said Gonzales Police Capt. Allen Taylor. The victim was on his cell phone with dispatchers while chasing the teens on foot.

Officers quickly identified the teens, who were in orange jumpsuits, as escapees from the detention center, Taylor said.

After a two- to three-block pursuit, the suspects surrendered to encroaching law enforcement near St. Peter and Williams streets.

They were sent back to the detention center in Victoria, where they remain on lockdown and under one-on-one supervision, Hencerling said.

Taylor said the department had previous contact with one of the juveniles, whose grandmother lives in Gonzales. The department will refer the case to juvenile authorities, he said.

The juveniles face charges of escape, assault on a public servant, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, which is expected to be enhanced because it occurred during the escape, hit and run and evading arrest, said Hencerling.

She said the detention center was following policy when the assault and escape occurred.

"Ratio was being met with staff to the number of kids. It's just one of those things," she said. "Obviously, they had a plan."

Hencerling recalled only two or three previous escapes having happened in the last 15 years at the facility.

The Gonzales County Sheriff's Office and Texas Department of Public Safety assisted in the arrests.

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