Teens flee Tennessee detention facility, second breakout in month

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 27, 2014 2:18 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - Thirteen boys escaped from a problem-plagued Tennessee youth detention facility where 32 teens broke out earlier this month, authorities said on Saturday.

All but one of the teens who broke out late Friday night had been found on Saturday, according to Metro-Nashville Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The Woodland Hills Youth Development Center, which largely houses juveniles with multiple felonies, was the scene of a larger jail break on September 1, when 32 youths escaped.

Two of them remain at large.

Friday night's incident involved 13 youths who overpowered a guard and took his keys and radio, according to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, which operates the facility.

They escaped out the front gate, said DCS spokesman Rob Johnson.

A guard shack at the gate was unoccupied because the guard was conducting a perimeter check of the fence that surrounds the facility, he said.

All but one of the boys were found within three hours, according to the DCS.

Two days after the larger breakout earlier this month, two dozen boys kicked their way through aluminum panels beneath exterior windows to escape the dormitories and create a large disturbance on the facility grounds.

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Some attacked guards with sticks and stones, and state and local police were called in to help quell the violence. None of the teens escaped, however.

The department had changed procedures and reinforced the buildings and the fences since those earlier incidents, DCS said.

"The department has a done a lot of work, but still has a lot of work to do to enhance security out there,” Johnson said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Dan Grebler)