Authorities seeking inmate after his 2nd escape from prison
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities on Wednesday were searching for an inmate they believe has made his second escape from a maximum-security South Carolina prison.
Officers began searching just before 2 p.m. Wednesday for Jimmy Causey, an inmate at Lieber Correctional Institution, about 90 miles (149 km) southeast of Columbia, according to Sommer Sharpe, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. No other details have been released.
Causey, 46, has now escaped from two different prisons in a dozen years. He and another inmate, convicted murderer Johnny Brewer, escaped Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia in 2005 by hiding in a trash truck.
The pair eluded authorities for three days before being apprehended at a motel along busy Interstate 95, not far from the prison from which Causey escaped on Wednesday. A pizza delivery driver told The Associated Press at the time she tipped off authorities when she recognized a customer as one of the two men being sought by authorities.
Both men were returned to prison. Brewer was found two years later, hanging from a bed sheet in his cell. Grilled by state lawmakers about how the escape happened, then-prisons director Jon Ozmint blamed budget cutbacks that had forced his department to cut 800 security positions, leaving some areas like the trash compactor and loading dock unmonitored by officers.
The director also said the men had fashioned fake heads out of toilet paper and put them in their beds, fooling officers at a 7:15 a.m. prisoner count. After a 9:00 a.m. count came up short, officials did a roll call and realized the two were missing.
Causey, 46, was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 after he was convicted of holding Columbia attorney Jack Swerling and his family at gunpoint in their home. He was first incarcerated in state prison in 1992 on charges including grand larceny, according to online records.
In December, another inmate serving a life sentence escaped from a different maximum-security prison in South Carolina. Authorities said 47-year-old Michael Allen Williamson stabbed a police officer during his escape from McCormick Correctional Institution in the western part of the state. The officer’s protective vest deflected many blows, but she was treated for two stab wounds to her arm and shoulder.