Oklahoma County inmate escapes during courthouse trip

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OKLAHOMA CITY-- The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out how an inmate escaped during a trip to the county courthouse on June 28th.

Deputies eventually found Tavion Reece, 23, and took him back into custody.

"Everyday we transport prisoners, inmates from the jail over to the courthouse so they can go to court hearing," Mark Opgrande with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, said.

Right now, the area where inmates are unloaded at the courthouse is under construction so inmates are being unloaded in a temporary, but secure area.

"We had three vans in this area that he was brought down in. So you can have anywhere from three, four, or five deputies that will ride back in the vans," Opgrande said.

According to a court document, a transportation deputy said "he placed Reece in his van at the court house" and "transported him to the Oklahoma County Detention Center".

Around 2:16 p.m. the van crossed back through the jail's gate.
Several inmates unloaded and went back inside, but "surveillance video does not show Reece exiting the van".

At 2:43 the van goes back to the courthouse.

Then at 2:49 "Reece can be seen on court house surveillance video".

"Between that process he was able to slip out of there and go inside that sally port, again there's not supposed to be anybody in there at this time. I guess the workers that are working in there were actually taking a break," Opgrande said. "It's a concern that he was able to go in there undetected."

Around 3:06 "Reece can be seen with some sort of electrical tool."

Then by 3:13 "The chain connecting the shackles is no longer intact".

Three minutes later deputies find Reece and take him back into custody.

"When something like this happens we take another look again and say how did this happen. Now what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again. Is it something that somebody did? Maybe human error? Or is it something that's part of the process," Opgrande asked.

Jail officials say Reece was there on a violation of suspended sentence.

They say he has also been arrested before on DUI, burglary and drug charges.

Sheriff's officials said media cannot get a copy of the surveillance video because it is part of the investigation.