INMATE FROM DAWES CO ENJOYS BRIEF TASTE OF FREEDOM

Posted 9 months ago

By John Axtell

Juan RamirezThe Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says work-release inmate serving a sentence from Dawes County jumped out of a state prison vehicle in south Lincoln Thursday afternoon and eluded authorities for almost two hours before being recaptured.

33-year old Juan Ramirez is serving a 10-to-15 year sentence from 2008 for burglary and possession of a stolen gun.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith says Ramirez was living at the work release center because he’s eligible for parole in October.

He is scheduled for a parole hearing next month, but Smith says Otoe County sheriff’s deputies spoke with him yesterday about a reported residential burglary the previous night.

Otoe County Chief Deputy Mike Holland says Ramirez had been working with a state road crew near a house where someone kicked in the door. Holland says they were convinced Ramirez broke in, but he denied it.

Then, while Ramirez was being taken back to the work release center about 1:00, he opened the  door of the state truck, jumped out, and ran toward a water park.  Smith says since Ramirez was a nonviolent offender, he was not shackled.

Police, dogs and helicopters then scoured a roughly mile-and-a-half area of Lincoln and found Ramirez about 2 hours later hiding in trees and heavy brush about a half-mile from where he’d jumped out of the truck.