Coffee County thanks sheriff’s dept

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Coffee County Jail escapee Lucas Gregorio stands in front of the judge today, it will be because of the assistance from the Covi-ngton County Sheriff’s Office following his March 9 escape.

Or at least that’s what Coffee County Jail Administrator Richard Moss told members of the Covington County Commission Tuesday as he presented certificates of appreciation to members of the CCSO and Sheriff’s Posse.

“That man scaled two fences and was attacked by a guard dog who bit him close to his femoral artery to escape,” Moss said. “We called in your sheriff’s office and your tracking dog, Tracker, to help us find him.

“And we did,” he said. “He was found up in a tree about three-quarters of mile from the jail the next morning. We had broke for breakfast, and Sgt. (Lamar) Stokes said if he felt he could find (Gregorio) if we could get back in the woods.

“He went out with two of my deputies and did what he was trained to do, ‘look up,’” he said. “And there he was, nearly dead in a tree.”

Moss said Gregorio had been arrested for driving under the influence.

“I don’t know what made him want to leave the jail so bad, but now he’s facing 15 years for escape,” he said.

Moss presented certificates to Stokes and Posse members Joe Barton and Chad Clark for their aid in capturing the inmate.

He said Gregorio is due in court today to face the escape charge.

In other business, the commission:

• made it mandatory for employees to participate in insurance health screenings. County administrator Brenda Petty said the screenings are mandatory for the county to retain it’s preferred health insurance rating.

• ratified the county’s decision to participate in the state’s lawsuit against BP.

• agreed to enter into a contract with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for funding for right-of-way trash pick-up. County engineer Darren Capps said ADEM will reimburse the county up to $100,000 for a salary and inmate labor for the project. Sheriff Dennis Meeks suggested hiring off-duty officers to oversee the project and the inmate labor as to ensure safety.

The next commission meeting will be held on May 9 at 9:30 a.m. A public hearing will be held prior to the commission meeting to discuss closing of Drip Rock.