Crime & Courts

Sheriff: Worn lock allowed prisoners to escape

A worn and broken lock on a prisoner transport van “vibrated into the unlock position” on Friday, the Lincoln county Sheriff’s Office said, allowing two inmates to escape.

Logan Gene Long, 24 of Lincolnton, and Damarcus Dashaun Dixon, 19 of Charlotte, weren’t free for long. They escaped at a stoplight in Raleigh while being transported but were captured about an hour later just two blocks away.

Five other prisoners in the van didn’t leave.

Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter said a door lock bar on a cage inside the transport van became worn out over years of opening and closing. After the bar vibrated itself unlocked, the prisoners were able to reach through a slim opening and open the back door from the inside.

The Sheriff’s Office plans to secure the bar with a new locking device. The unlock knob of the van will also no longer work from the inside.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson