Too many prisoners, not enough manpower

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A female deputy continued to recover from a head injury Thursday after a murder suspect overpowered her Wednesday at the Wyandotte County Courthouse Annex and briefly escaped.

According to Wyandotte County sheriff's deputies, the prisoner was being taken to jail when he overpowered a female deputy, stripped out of his prison jumpsuit and took off running in his underwear.

"He ran down the street and an off-duty Kansas City, Kan., officer working at BPU saw him and started pursuing him," said Wyandotte County Sheriff Lt. Kelli Bailiff. "They then jumped a fence and there was some sort of a struggle, or as he was jumping the fence, that officer suffered a severe laceration to the arm."

The escapee was caught within 15 minutes. The deputy who was overpowered by the escapee was also injured. Authorities believe she may have been thrown against a wall. When she was found she was incoherent.

Deputies tell FOX 4 that inmates rarely escape from their custody, and that this deputy did nothing wrong.

"She didn't do anything wrong," Bailiff said. "The person who instructed her to take those inmates knew she had four. She's done it before. Been very successful with it. But we might need to look at maybe putting two on. When you're shorthanded you do the very best you can."

Nearly a year ago, a surveillance camera captured another man escaping from the courthouse annex after a judge ordered deputies to put him behind bars. It took more than a week to find him.  In 2010, another man kicked a police officer and ran out of the courthouse and tried to carjack a woman.

Sheriff's officers say they typically handcuff groups of inmates together in chain-gang fashion.

"I personally have transported up to six at one time. We don't like it. Would we like to have enough manpower to have two officers? Sure. Are we going to look at that? Absolutely," Bailiff said.

The man who escaped remained in the hospital Thursday evening. Prosecutors said they would not release his name until new charges were filed.

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