Trial date set in escape from Walla Walla County Jail

Warren D. Summers, in prison in another case, allegedly planned the break for weeks.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of breaking out of the Walla Walla County Jail in what officials say was a short-lived bid for freedom last February was arraigned Monday afternoon in Superior Court.

Warren D. Summers, 56, pleaded innocent and is scheduled for trial Nov. 1 and 2 on charges of first-degree escape and first-degree malicious mischief.

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 jail. Officials said he left the meeting room about 7:30 p.m. and followed exiting 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 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 after 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, who now is serving time at the Washington State Penitentiary, will remain in the custody of state prison officials throughout prosecution of the current escape and malicious mischief charges.

If eventually convicted as charged, he would be sentenced to serve up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. He has an extensive previous record of felonies dating 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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