Inmate escapes from Merced Co. jail amid extra security measures

Forty-five-year-old Charlie Everitt is accused of driving under the influence and killing two people in a crash back in October of 2019.

Video Transcript

- Authorities say Charlie Everitt broke out of the John Latorraca Correctional Center on Sandy Mush Road near Highway 1-- Highway 59 Monday night. Now this comes just months after six inmates escaped from the county's other jail in downtown Rousset. Action News anchor Brittany Jacob now joining us live from the facility with how the sheriff's office is now responding. Brittany.

BRITTANY JACOB: Yes, right, that's right. This inmate was able to break through several layers of building material and also get to the roof and then escape right here from the John Latorraca Correctional Center. Now, the sheriff's office is investigating. And one resident says, this seems like deja vu.

FRANCES CHAMBERLAIN: Somebody escaped from John Latorraca again. Did you say again?

BRITTANY JACOB: Frances Chamberlain is a Merced resident. She says she is not worried about her safety with an escaped inmate on the loose, but she is shocked about how he escaped.

FRANCES CHAMBERLAIN: That's not the first time that that's happened. There's been more than one time that that's happened. I'm just surprised how this one got out.

BRITTANY JACOB: Authorities say Charlie Everitt forced his way through several layers of building material around 8:00 Monday night, and then broke the perimeter fencing to make his escape. The 45-year-old is accused of driving under the influence and killing two people in a crash back in October of 2019. He was scheduled to be in court for a jury trial next month, but now he's the latest escaped inmate the county has had to pursue.

Six others broke out of the main jail back in January. Four have since been caught. This is the first escape from the John Latorraca Correctional Center in several years. But at least six inmates broke out between 2012 and 2013 alone.

COREY GIBSON: It's built with drywall, wood materials. It's not correctional grade in any way. In 2015, the sheriff's office was awarded about 40 million from the state to renovate the facility. But undersheriff Gibson says based on delays from the state, along with the delays locally, they are still waiting to start construction on that project.

BRITTANY JACOB: Since then, they have hardened the facility by putting additional fencing and bars and razor wire and even stepped up security checks. But Gibson says the facility is constantly being manipulated and destroyed by the inmates.

COREY GIBSON: It's extremely frustrating with the changes in state law that have allowed more violent inmates to be housed locally. It's caused us tremendous problems when it comes to dealing with security at the facilities.

BRITTANY JACOB: Now detectives are working with a variety of agencies, including the US Marshal Service to try to catch Everitt. Anyone who sees Everitt is asked to contact the sheriff's office. Live in Merced County, Brittany Jacob, ABC 30 Action News.