14 Escape Yakima County Jail During COVID-19 Crisis

14 Escape Yakima County Jail During COVID-19 Crisis

Yakima County Jail, Yakima, Washington
March 23, 2020 – March 27, 2020

In the evening of March 23, 14 prisoners held at the Yakima County Jail escaped by breaking open a fire door with a table. By 6:00 a.m. the next morning, the police had still not captured 6 of the escapees.

The escapes occurred following an uprising at the facility, according to documents filed by Department of Corrections officers and obtained by the Yakima Herald. The incident began around 7:00 p.m. when prisoners at the facility forcefully responded to a guard who they perceived to be disrespectful, forcing him out of the unit. When guards responded with pepper-spray and “foggers”, prisoners used a table as a battering ram to break open a fire exit door and fly their incoming attackers. Fourteen prisoners were able to scale the exterior fence.

The escape was captured on video by a bystander sitting in a car just outside the perimeter fence of the jail. The video shows multiple people running down an empty street and what looks like a jail administrator following in pursuit for only a few yards before giving up.

The escape occurred the same day a quarantine was lifted at the jail. The quarantine had been instituted while awaiting test results for three prisoners who were suspected of carrying COVID-19. When the test results were returned negative, the quarantine was lifted.

On the 24th six of the escapees had still not been recaptured. On the 25th, one of the six escapees was captured while five others remain at-large. Four more escapees were arrested by the 26th, and the final of the original 14 escapee was apprehended at 12:30pm on March 27th. He had been on the run for four days. They are being held on charges of second-degree escape.



Police searching for 6 of the 14 inmates who escaped Yakima County jail“, The Seattle Times, March 23, 2020 8:49 pm, updated March 24, 2020 at 6:21 am.

Yakima County jail official says inmates broke out because they were afraid of coronavirus“, Yakima Herald, March 24, 2020.

Virus Quarantine Lifted at Yakima County Jail“, NewsTalkKIT, March 23, 2020.

Yakima Jail Escape“, Youtube, March 23, 2020.

WATCH: Jail break at the Yakima County Jail caught on video“, Yakima Herald, March 23, 2020.

UPDATE: One of six fugitives from Yakima County jail break back in custody“, Yakima Herald, March 25, 2020.

Seven inmates face charges in connection with escape from Yakima County jail“, Yakima Herald, March 25, 2020.

Last of Yakima County jail escapees in custody“, Yakima Herald, March 27.

Reports: Inmates rioted before they escaped from Yakima County jail“, Yakima Herald, March 29, 2020.


Article published: 3/24/20. Updated March 28, 2020.

Header photo source: Screenshot, Redsand187, YouTube