Suspension upheld for prison truck driver
November 8, 2006
A Nevada employment hearing officer has upheld the 20-day suspension of prison warehouse employee and truck driver George Ramm for negligence, which allowed inmate Jody Thompson to escape in August 2005.
Thompson, 25, escaped Northern Nevada Correctional Center in August by hiding in the back of a delivery truck leaving with a load of furniture from the prison industries shop.
With the help of a cell phone allegedly smuggled to him by a prison infirmary employee, friends picked Thompson up in Fallon. It took until late December before he was recaptured in Las Vegas.
Ramm was suspended by prison officials who charged he left the prison industries truck unattended even though it had a broken latch on the rear door and then failed to thoroughly search the vehicle before taking it out of the prison.
Thompson told prison investigators he hid in the cargo area of the truck while Ramm was talking to his supervisor.
Prison officials charged Ramm with failure to ensure safety and security as part of his job and inexcusable neglect of duty. Saying he violated the security of the institution, they ordered him suspended without pay for 20 days.
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Ramm appealed to the state’s administrative hearing officers but, this week, his appeal was rejected.
Hearing officer Bill Kockenmeister ruled that, although Ramm is a warehouse employee, not a correctional officer, he is responsible in his job for inmate security. He said Ramm and his supervisor were apparently both aware the padlock on the truck was broken but it was Ramm’s responsibility to get it replaced before driving into the prison.
In addition, he said Ramm violated the rules by leaving the truck unattended.
Therefore, he ruled, the 20 day suspension is appropriate.
Thompson, who was serving time for multiple armed robberies, is back in prison after being recaptured by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. He is facing charges in connection with crimes allegedly committed while on the run including new robberies at two bars and a home invasion.
Ana Kastner, 43, the woman accused of helping him by providing a cell phone he used to set up the escape, is also facing charges in Carson District Court.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.