You asked: More than $18,000 spent to catch escapee

Published 9:44 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

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You asked: How much did it cost to catch the escaped Southampton County Jail inmate?

COURTLAND—More than $18,000 was spent during a 28-hour search for an inmate who escaped from the Southampton County Jail on April 21.

Maj. Gene Drewery with the Sheriff’s Office understands each agency involved picks up its costs for looking for Sherman Hix, 47, who is serving two years for stealing a riding lawnmower.

“It will be requested that Hix be ordered to pay for this and other agencies’ costs as well,” Drewery said.

The estimated cost for Southampton County to look for Hix, who worked in the kitchen and allegedly left the jail through a back door at 5:10 a.m., was $9,500, Drewery said.

County Administrator Mike Johnson understands the sheriff’s operating budget will cover the expense.

The Virginia Department of Corrections paid $7,875 to 60 officers, said Larry Traylor, the agency’s director of communications.

“Each facility should be able to adjust all overtime earned as it is the beginning of the work cycle,” he said. “The amount of overtime earned for individuals would have been approximately 3½ hours.”

Corrections officers came from Greensville Correctional Center, Sussex I and Sussex II State Prison, and Deerfield Correctional Center.

From Isle of Wight County, one deputy and a dog were involved in the search for about five hours, said Kristin Wilda, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. She didn’t know the cost of the deputy’s involvement, but noted that the base pay for a deputy is $34,734. Based on a 40-hour week, that calculates to $16.70 an hour.

“Sometimes the commonwealth’s attorney may go after restitution,” Wilda said. “Also, it would be the inmate paying up.”

Franklin police also were involved, but did not say how much was spent or how many officers participated.

“Expense is not the issue for us,” said Lt. Tim Whitt. “As a law enforcement agency, we are sworn to protect citizens and provide services whenever and wherever needed. We have a mutual-aid pact with several other agencies and jurisdictions including Southampton Sheriff’s Office and will readily assist them in their time of need just as they, along with other agencies, assist us when requested.”

Hix was found at 9:15 a.m. Sunday sleeping in a pickup on the Robert Marks farm in Capron.