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Ala. inmate steals, crashes patrol cruiser; sheriff vows tighter security

The inmate is facing numerous charges and the sheriff’s office is tightening security and changing policies as a result


An inmate stole and crashed a sheriff’s cruiser in attempt to escape prison Monday afternoon.


Carol Robinson
Alabama Media Group

WINSTON COUNTY, Ala. — A Winston County Jail trustee stole, and then crashed, a sheriff’s cruiser, authorities said Tuesday.

Sheriff Horace Moore gave this account of what happened: About 4 p.m. Monday, sheriff’s officials began their monthly Safety Training Meeting. Once the meeting was finished about 5 p.m., they discovered someone had driven off in the patrol vehicle.

At that point, authorities locked down the jail and discovered that Wesley Aldridge, who was assigned as the shop mechanic, was the only inmate missing. A short time later, Decatur dispatchers notified the sheriff that Aldridge had been stopped on U.S. 31 just east of Decatur.

Moore, along with Chief Deputy Brett Rodgers, Deputy Jonathan Oliver, Deputy Josh Silas and Investigator Caleb Snoddy, headed to Decatur. Once on the scene, they learned Aldridge had wrecked the patrol vehicle and sideswiped another. “Thank God no one was seriously injured,’’ the sheriff said.

Aldridge faces multiple charges from Decatur police and the Winston County Sheriff’s Office. “He will spend years in prison”, Moore said. “I will not rest until that happens. I will do everything I can to speed the process.”

The sheriff said once back at the jail, they conducted their investigation as to what happened. As a result, four inmates from work release and two trustees were placed back into jail. These inmates will no longer be on work release or receive trustee status, he said.

The location of the jail, Moore said, makes it hard to secure the compound. “Security is a huge concern with me,’’ he said. “I want to sit down with the county commission and work with them on more fencing.”

Moore said he will change existing policy and procedures on safety and security. No work release or trustee visitation will be allowed for the next two weeks. More changes will be made as well. The investigation is ongoing.