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Criminal Justice

Jail visitor is accidentally locked up for 30 hours, finally breaks sprinkler head to escape

Posted Jul 9, 2014 9:25 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A man visiting his son at the Cook County Jail in Chicago was accidentally locked up himself for nearly 30 hours over the weekend.

Following directions to a visiting room, the man entered a door that had been left open by contractors and it closed behind him, executive director Cara Smith told the Chicago Tribune. The room is used for visits with maximum-security prisoners, but not over the weekend, and no one heard the unidentified visitor pounding at the concrete door.

Around 1 a.m. on Monday he finally escaped, after about 30 hours. “Brilliantly, he broke the sprinkler head off which alerted the fire department so they were able to identify where it was coming from and they went in and found him,’’ Smith said.

The man needed several stitches for injuries to his hand caused by breaking the sprinkler head, but was released from the hospital within a couple of hours and then driven back to the jail by authorities so he could pick up his parked car.

Smith called such incidents "unacceptable," said the corrections department is "tremendously sorry" about what happened and is investigating.

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