Bell County is looking for a new prisoner transportation company after Texas Prisoner Transportation Services announced they are shutting down.
This is days after suspected killer Cedric Marks escaped from guards while they stopped to get food at a McDonalds as he was being transported from a Michigan jail to Central Texas.
The escape led 17 different agencies on a nine-hour manhunt.
Bell County has been using Texas Prisoner Transporation Services for over 3 years.
They transported about 200 prisoners every year for the county.
Now, Bell County Judge David Blackburn says they are in the works of getting a new prisoner transport company.
“I understand there is an investigation underway and so I’ll look forward to seeing the report when that investigation is completed,” says Bell County Judge David Blackburn.
Michigan Police arrested 44-year-old Cedric Marks January 8th on a temple burglary warrant.
When he escaped custody in Conroe, deputies announced Marks also faced a capital murder charge in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend Michael Swearingin, 32.
“Track record we had with the company was good, I’m not aware of incidents that occurred over the past 2-3 years with the company,” Blackburn says.
Some people are wondering why deputies didn’t just fly Marks back to Texas.
“Transport by air is very expensive, not to say it’s not been done but it’s not the norm,” Blackburn explains.
For now the Sheriff’s department will have to do its own transport when needed.
“But we have started the process for bidding out that contract so we will soliciting bids, we’ll review those and the proposals and the contracts we’ll receive and then hopefully we’ll award a new contract to a new company,” Blackburn says.
Blackburn says they are going to find a company as fast as they can probably somewhere between 30-45 days at the earliest.
“We always want to make sure that our prisoner transport contracts and the whole process is safe and secure,” Blackburn explains.
We did reach out to Texas Prisoner Transportation Services for comment but have not heard back.