Man charged in jail break

Warren D. Summers, now a prison inmate, has been charged with felony counts of escape and malicious mischief.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man now faces two felony charges for allegedly breaking out of the County Jail in a short-lived bid for freedom last February.

Warren D. Summers, 56, was formally charged Wednesday in Superior Court with first-degree escape and first-degree malicious mischief.

If eventually convicted of the charges, he would be sentenced to serve up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Summers currently is serving a seven-year prison term imposed in mid-February for crimes including residential burglary, theft, malicious mischief and possession of oxycodone that occurred in August 2009.

While awaiting sentencing on those charges Feb. 2, he was attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting inside the Walla Walla County Jail. Officials said he left the meeting room about 7:30 p.m. and followed visitors through a metal security door into the lobby area where he tried to force his way past a glass security door allowing access to the outside.

At first he wasn't able to do so, but then he allegedly threw shower tiles toward the glass door, cracked it and dove through. Police apprehended him about eight minutes later near Third and Stahl avenues following a brief chase on foot.

Authorities believe Summers had planned the escape for a few weeks. Deputies reportedly located damage to a shower area of the jail where inmates had been removing the tiles.

Summers will be brought to court from the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center on Sept. 13 for his first appearance on the new charges. He will remain in the custody of state prison officials throughout prosecution of the case.

He has an extensive previous record of felonies dating back to 1972, including two escapes in Yakima County in the 1980s.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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