PINEVILLE, Ky. – Police were seeking two southeast Kentucky felons Wednesday who escaped from jail by spraying a bleach concoction in the eyes of one jail worker and physically attacking another before running off.
David Mosely, 41, and Matthew Price, 45, escaped Tuesday night from the Bell County jail, Kentucky State Police said. Master Trooper Shane Jacobs said dispatchers had taken numerous calls about the inmates, but police hadn’t located them yet as of late Wednesday morning.
Both jail workers were treated at a hospital and released, said deputy jailer 1st Lt. Josh Collett.
Jailer Gary Ferguson said the escape happened while an officer was passing out medicine to inmates. He said Mosely and Price, who were cellmates, made a plastic device that wedged into their cell door and they were able to open it when they heard the control room door open. He said the inmates then squirted the bleach concoction in the eyes of the female officer and took her keys, and then hit a male officer in the head, knocked him to the floor and kicked him in the ribs.
“As unfortunate as it is, I’m hoping for a full recovery for my officers and I’d like for everyone to keep them in their prayers,” Ferguson said.
Police described Mosely as a 6-foot-1, 200-pound white male who’s bald and Price as a 5-foot-9, 170-pound white male with blondish brown hair. Both men are from Middlesboro, Kentucky, and have multiple tattoos, including on their chests.
Collett said Mosely was in jail on various drug and theft charges while Price was serving time for various counts including burglary, wanton endangerment on a police officer and driving under the influence.
Both were convicted felons who had been at the jail for more than a month and had previously served time there.
Bell County is in the state’s southeastern tip, where it meets Tennessee and Virginia. A description on the county’s website says much of it is thickly forested, rugged terrain including two mountain ridges, Pine Mountain and Cumberland Mountain.
Anyone who sees the inmates shouldn’t approach them but should call authorities, police said.
An escape from an institution doesn’t happen often and it’s rare for deputy jailers to get assaulted during such an attempt, said Brad Boyd, president of the Kentucky Jailers Association.
While it’s common for inmates to walk off while they are on work release, Boyd said inmates don’t usually escape from lock-up.
He said jail employees are typically underpaid, underappreciated and overworked due to a statewide shortage of workers, and security measures vary across the state depending on the age of the jail.
Assaults are commonplace when people are brought into a jail, he said, because many are emotional, dealing with mental issues or on drugs and jail is the last place they want to be.
“It’s a very dangerous job without a doubt,” he said.