Memphians Keshun Douglas and Mario Jackson might not know one another, but they have more than a few things in common: They're both 23 years old, both were charged with felonies, and until last week, the men were being held at jails or prisons in Shelby County. Now both men are on the run.
In separate incidents in two days, Douglas and Jackson managed to break free from guards at the Regional Medical Center of Memphis, commonly known as the Med.
On Wednesday, July 7th, Douglas, who was serving time for property theft at the Shelby County Corrections Center, snuck out of a prison transport van while six other inmates were being unloaded in front of the Med. Douglas was being taken to the hospital's prison ward for lab work.
The following day, Jackson was in the Med's prison ward when he overpowered two Shelby County corrections deputies. Jackson, who was arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary, escaped after a trip to the restroom.
"When he came out of the restroom, it appeared that his ankle bracelets had been loosened somehow," said Steve Shular, a spokesperson for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. "He bolted away from the officers and ran straight out the door."
Both men remained at large at press time, and both incidents are being investigated.
Shular would not divulge details as to how inmates are guarded when visiting the Med's prison ward, but he did say inmates typically are restrained in some way.
"Day in and day out, security standards are in place to keep inmates and the public safe. They are restrained, and you have proper training to ensure that supervision takes place," Shular said. "In this case, something happened in one of those arenas, and that's under investigation."
Med spokesperson Angie Herron said security of inmates in the hospital's prison ward falls solely to the sheriff's office or corrections officers.
"We take care of the patients, and we leave any law enforcement up to the sheriff's office," Herron said.
The Med does have its own security staff, but they primarily serve in other areas of the hospital. Herron said the Med's security was notified of the escapes when they happened, and the staff is cooperating with the investigation. The location of the prison ward is secret, and inmates do not have access to the rest of the hospital.
The sheriff's office or county government are responsible for any changes to security procedures for inmates.
"They have certain protocols they follow, and we may not know what those are," Herron said. "Those aren't our policies and procedures to change."