Inmates in an North Texas county jail busted out of their jail cell after a jailer collapsed on the floor. Their goal was to draw the attention of other jailers in order to save the man’s life.
Eight men were locked in a holding cell in the basement of the Parker County jail when a jailer who had been joking with them suddenly collapsed on the floor. When the men realized he wasn’t joking around but was actually in distress, the men busted the lock on the holding cell and came to his aid, KHOU CBS11 in Dallas reported.
“He just fell over,” inmate Nick Kelton told KHOU’s Jim Douglas. “Looked like an act. Could have died right there.”
When the inmates realized he was in serious danger, they began shouting for help. When they could not get anyone’s attention, they managed to bust the door of the holding room open. They did so knowing they could be placing themselves in danger if other jailers misinterpreted their motivation.
The inmates determined that the guard had no pulse and began banging on other jail doors to draw attention.
“We were worried they’re going to come with guns drawn on us,” Kelton explained.
Another inmate said the jailers thought there was a fight or that they were trying to take over the jail.
Parker County Sheriff Sergeant Ryan Speegle was concerned when he heard the noise because the jailer had keys and a gun. He said the situation could have been very bad from the sounds coming from the jail.
As Speegle entered the area and witnessed the commotion, one of the first things he saw was an inmate reaching for the area where the guard’s gun was located. It turned out he was reaching for the guard’s radio to call for help. “We were going to call ‘Mayday’ or something,” Kelton told the CBS reporter.
Speegle and other deputies regained control of the inmates and then began to administer first aid to the fallen guard.
Kelton, a meth addict facing his fourth trip to prison, said of the guard, “He’s a good man.” He told Douglas that he (Kelton) just can’t beat his addiction.
Sheriff’s Captain Mark Arnett said the inmates clearly helped save the guard’s life. “He could have been there fifteen minutes before any other staff walked in and found him,” Arnett told Douglas.
“I watched him die twice,” Kelton told the Houston CBS reporter. “It never crossed my mind not to help whether he’s got a gun or a badge. If he falls down, I’m gonna help him.”
Another inmate, Floyd Smith said it just seemed like the natural thing to do.
The guard was identified only as a contractor. He is recovering and is expected to return to work sometime next week.
The door that the inmates broke open has now been reinforced.