'The folks of Douglas County are safe from Mr. Grimes'

'The folks of Douglas County are safe from Mr. Grimes'

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Thomas Grimes, the man who escaped from the Douglas County Jail in the garbage, pleaded 'No Contest' in Douglas County Court Wednesday morning.

Grimes was sentenced immediately on two separate offenses.

The first was second degree escape, in which he was sentenced to five years in prison. Generally, the maximum sentence is 30 months, but it was doubled because Grimes had three enhancement factors.

Basically, he got more time because he was on parole or probation when the offense took place, he had prior sanctions that authorities say he hadn't learned from and his previous offenses were similar in nature.

Grimes was also given 30 months for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

His time will be served consecutively, which means that he should spend about seven and a half years behind bars.

Deputy District Attorney Jodee Jackson says that she is very pleased with the outcome, and adds that, "for a very significant time, the folks of Douglas County are safe from Mr. Grimes."

Taken out with the trash

Back on June 15, at around 6:00 a.m., Grimes was discovered missing from the jail by deputies.

Officials at the sheriff's office conducted an internal investigation, in which they said Grimes was able to escape by, "exploiting some flawed internal procedures."

Officials say Grimes hid inside a trash can that was dumped outside the facility by other inmate workers.

The sheriff's office says that several procedures have been changed to keep this from happening again, and that this method of escape can't happen again.

One employee at the jail was discharged after the incident, and one other employee "quit in lieu of termination."

No stranger to the law

Grimes was being held in Douglas County on several warrants charging him with Attempt to Elude, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

Grimes was also being held on a warrant out of Lane County and a Lane County Parole Board hold.

In December 2009, Grimes took off in a stolen car from Springfield, barreling head-on into traffic as deputies tried to take him into custody on a warrant, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities in Douglas County took Grimes into custody in January of this year after another car chase when police in Sutherlin attempted to stop a car for a minor traffic violation. Instead of pulling over, the driver - later identified as Grimes - sped off, reaching speeds over 100 miles an hour.

Officers followed the car into Oakland, where the driver ditched the vehicle and ran on foot.

Sergeant Joseph Felix of the Sutherlin Police Department said officers were looking for the suspect when he noticed the skirting on a mobile home unit was displaced.

"I could smell him before I could see him," Felix told KPIC News in January.

Felix said the smell of alcohol was very strong, and he eventually located Grimes underneath the mobile home and took him into custody.

Finally captured

After an incident where Springfield police found Grimes stealing a car, he managed to escape again, but it would be the last time.

Grimes allegedly tried to run down a cop while driving away in a stolen car, and the officer fired at him.

Police found Grimes at a camp site in the Fall Creek area just before 7 a.m. on July 18.

"It looked like he tore a hole through the back of his tent, he was barefoot, in his boxers, running through the forest," said Springfield Police Officer Allan Amundson. "So I think we did surprise him."

He ran from a tent towards the woods. Police said they found pocket knives in the tent, but no firearms.

Officers caught up to Grimes after the wanted man ran about a football field's length into the woods, with K9 Tjenco close behind.

"Tjenco has been taught to guard and bark...So if the person’s not posing a threat to us, he’s just supposed to stay with him and bark and guard him for us," said Kendrick.

Grimes was treated for minor injuries.