Updated by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
A Black Hawk County escaped inmate is captured. After about a two day search and an hour-long car chase, authorities finally caught 25-year-old Jeremy Mask.
Friday, Mask took authorities on a high speed chase through four counties: Tama, Black Hawk, Benton, and Grundy.
Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m., Jeremy Mask escaped from the Black Hawk County Jail. Police say he stole a truck from Waterloo and took them on a chase through Traer, but they lost him.
Mask was then reportedly in Toledo, where Medicap Pharmacy was robbed. The suspect matched Mask's description.
Shortly after that, a second vehicle was stolen. It was found unoccupied in a ditch near La Porte City. Officials kept searching and found yet another truck stolen from a farm near La Porte. Mask crashed that one in a ditch just a few miles away, and ran off again.
Finally after an hour-long chase, with speeds over 100 miles an hour, authorities got their man. Mask drove into a ditch, off Eagle Road and Highway 63 near Hudson.
Of course that dramatic chase unfolded after mask was the first inmate to successfully break out of the current Black Hawk County Jail.
Ironically enough, the Black Hawk County Jail is currently undergoing some security upgrades. Part of the work exposed access to a fire door, and that's how Mask left the building.
Sheriff Tony Thompson says there's no excuse for what happened, and now he's focused on making sure it never happens again.
25-year-old Jeremy Mask is now back in the Black Hawk County Jail, after 18 hours on the run, following his escape Thursday afternoon.
Now, there are ongoing criminal and internal investigations into how he was able to break free.
"It's a frustrating thing to brunt and shoulder the responsibility for. I certainly apologize and take full responsibility for the occurrence and pledge both on the investigation side as well as on the remediation side that it's going to be taken care of," said Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.
Mask slipped out undetected through a fire door. Access to the door was open, as contractors were using it to move materials through the building in order to install additional security cameras. Twelve minutes passed before deputies discovered mask was gone--during a scheduled, routine head count.
"The open door was upstairs in the actual living area. The bottom door was actually a procedural breech caused by an employee that's currently being investigated," Thompson said.
About 50 inmates were housed in Mask's unit, and they're now all being questioned about what happened, too.
If there's good news out of the jail break, Sheriff Thompson believes the ongoing upgrades to security features will help ensure this never happens again.
Thompson also says there are already conversations with the jail's contractors to see if any policy or procedural changes are also needed to help prevent future escapes.
Mask was jailed in connection with a robbery back in April. Now he's expected to face a slew of additional charges in multiple counties, resulting from the chase and crimes committed while on the lamb.
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