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Inmate jumps in hole, gets trapped

Updated: April 21, 2012 5:39PM

Fire trucks swarmed the Cook County Jail Saturday afternoon after a detainee jumped into an eight foot hole while surrounded by guards.

The inmate at Division 2, near 27th and Sacramento, wasn’t quite trapped in the hole, but crews spent more than an hour shoring it to ensure he wouldn’t be scraped by sharp edges, fire officials said at the scene.

The man was being held on $5,000 bond for retail theft and was being moved from one dorm to another after working a shift in the kitchen when he jumped in, Cook County Sheriff’s office spokesman Frank Bilecki said.

Guards already had their eyes on the man, and saw him fall almost immediately into the 8 by 5-foot wide hole, Bilecki said. A new building was being built and the hole was there for crews to work on a main water or sewer line.

Guards immediately went over and saw him sitting in the hole -- on soft ground -- with no visible signs of injuries, Bilecki said.

Chicago Fire Dept. collapse crew workers were the only ones taken into the jail, while three fire trucks waited outside.

The man was pulled out and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital after complaining of minor injuries, fire officials said.

A psychological evaluation was also ordered, according to Bilecki.

The man’s motives are still unclear, but Bilecki said in some instances, inmates have caused a commotion to get moved to another tier of the jail where they might know someone.

One thing is clear; it wasn’t an escape attempt, because he was surrounded by guards. It was most likely a psychological issue that led to the man’s actions, Bilecki said.

The jail’s Division 2 is for minimum security inmates.

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