Prisoner slips hospital; still at large Saturday

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Two men on medical furlough from the Curry County Adult Detention Center have walked away from Clovis’ hospital in the past two weeks and face felony escape charges, jail administrator Don Burdine said on Saturday.

One prisoner remained at large on Saturday night, officials said.

Jail records show Edgar O. Perales, 41, and Paul L. Salazar, 28, were taken to Plains Regional Medical Center from the county jail on July 1.

Burdine said Salazar walked away from the hospital on July 1 and was recaptured Friday morning.

Perales walked away Friday afternoon and was not in custody by 10 p.m. Saturday. Perales is the brother of Curry County Commisioner Ed Perales.

Both escapees could face up to 18 months in jail if convicted of escape.

Burdine said medical furloughs are common and people aren’t under guard while in the hospital, but he can’t recall another instance of inmates walking away.

“Generally they get their treatment and come back to jail,” he said.

Burdine said charges against Perales include assault on a police officer, but jail officials know Perales and don’t consider him to be dangerous to the public.

Burdine said he was surprised Perales was physically able to flee the hospital.

“They first thought they would (fly) him to Lubbock but he remained in intensive care at Plains Regional Medical Center,” Burdine said. “As of Thursday afternoon he was still in ICU, but apparently sometime Friday afternoon he unhooked himself and left the hospital.”

Salazar faced charges of false imprisonment and resisting or evading an officer.

Burdine said he suspects the men became ill by injecting themselves with illegal drugs from a dirty needle while in the jail.

“When they went in with an infection, the hospital asked us to do a search of the housing area,” Burdine said. “When we did the search, we did find a syringe that is the type that is used for insulin. It was seized, we contacted the hospital to see if they needed it for testing, they said they did not so it was disposed of with our sharps.”

Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said Salazar didn’t surrender easily.

“One of the deputies had gone by the house where we captured him the first time, saw he was there, got into a foot pursuit, and he got into a vehicle and ran into a dead end so our deputies were able to apprehend him there,” Hatcher said.

Perales had been held since June 16 on charges that included aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated fleeing or eluding, reckless driving and a variety of drug and traffic charges.

Salazar had been held since March and faced charges of false imprisonment and resisting or evading an officer.