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NICI escapees caught in Clarkston

June 4 escape earns pair felony charges

Two escapees from North Idaho Correctional Institution are back in custody, awaiting arraignment in Idaho County for their alleged flight from the facility last Wednesday morning.

Dylan James Ames and Tyler Dean Davis, both 23, are charged with felony escape. Bond is set at $100,000 for each. A court hearing for the pair was not set as of press time Tuesday.

How the pair traversed the distance from Cottonwood to Swallows Park south of Clarkston — where they were taken into custody by the Asotin County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, June 7 — and what may have occurred in the interim is hoped to be determined, according to Lt. Doug Ulmer, Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, in a pending interview with the pair to be conducted jointly by ICSO and Idaho Department of Correction.

If convicted on escape charges, Ames and Davis face up to five years in prison to be served in addition to the underlying incarceration sentences that brought them to NICI.

According to NICI Warden Lynn Guyer, the pair arrived at the facility April 28 to serve 270-day riders through its prison therapeutic community program. Davis received a 2-to5-year sentence on a grand theft conviction out of Ada County, and Ames was incarcerated on a 5-to-10-year sentence for convictions on possession of controlled substance charges out of Kootenai County.

“They had absolutely no disciplinary issues going on until now,” Guyer said, and the pair had even met the requirements – including no violence- or sex-related offenses — to serve on work-release crews outside the facility. In phone calls the pair made to girlfriends, he said, “There was nothing indicated they were going to do anything but the program. There was no indication they would decide to run on us.”

At the time of the incident reported at 10:45 a.m. last Wednesday, June 4, Ames and Davis were among approximately 20 inmates under supervision by two NICI staff members who were helping unload a truck of goods for the facility’s commissary that was parked just outside the facility’s open main gate. Lynn explained the commissary delivery occurs once a week, and prompted by a page announcement, inmates will volunteer to help with the unloading.

Guyer said he happened to be in a conference room that overlooked the unloading when, he said, he watched the pair start moving away from the truck. An officer called for them to get back; they didn’t, and he blew his whistle, “and they broke off across the parking lot and into the trees,” he said. Staff kept the pair within sight, and within five minutes ICSO was notified of the escape. At this point, once Ames and Davis “breeched the barrier,” Guyer explained, prison CERT personnel and area law enforcement handles the escape, and NICI staff continued to monitor the facility’s remaining 412 inmates.

Along with CERT and ICSO, law enforcement from Cottonwood and Grangeville, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho Fish and Game assisted in the search. Law enforcement received subsequent citizen reports of sightings in the vicinity and later at Winchester; however, last Saturday around 7 p.m., a tip to ACSO reported the pair at Clarkston, and deputies took the men into custody without incident.

Guyer said as a result of this incident, commissary truck loading will be conducted incident the facility once the main gate has been closed.

The last escape from NICI was Jan. 18; Ridge S. Dains, 21, and Caleb J. Thomas, 20, were captured in Walla Walla two days later and are serving prison time in Washington State on unrelated charges; their hearings in Idaho County for felony escape are pending. Prior to this, in August 2009, Emmanuel O. Jones went over the fence, stole a vehicle and fled to Nampa where he was captured after a high-speed pursuit.

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