Leon County (FOX 44) — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says inmate transportation will restart Monday, June 13th.
TDCJ paused the program after Gonzalo Lopez escaped during a trip from Gatesville to Huntsville on May 24th. His escape resulted in the murder of five people who were members of a family from Tomball.
The five are 66-year-old Mark Collins, 18-year-old Waylon, 16-year-old Carson, 11-year-old Hudson, and 11-year-old Bryson, who is a cousin to the other three boys. All are from Tomball.
According to TDCJ, members of the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office spotted Lopez and started to chase him. At one point, deputies put down spike strips and caused Lopez to crash. TDCJ says there was a shootout in Jourdanton and deputies shot and killed Lopez.
When Lopez first escaped, there were two correctional officers on the bus – Officer Jimmy Renegar and Officer Randy Smith.
Lopez assaulted and stabbed Officer Smith in the left hand with an unknown object while he was driving the bus. This caused the bus to crash, and Lopez ran off. The officer’s injuries were not life threatening.
When the transportation program restarts, it will include the following changes:
- Three officers will be required on transport buses
- Enhanced search procedures of an inmate before boarding a transport vehicle
- New video surveillance equipment will be installed on transport vehicles
- Inmates determined to be the highest risk will be transported by themselves
- Unit medical capabilities will be enhanced to reduce the need for offsite transport
- An independent security review will be conducted by an outside party
There will also be other measures that have not been released at this time.
TDCJ is working on a review of Lopez’s escape and the security measures. When those results are released, FOX 44 News will bring it to you.