Florence Co. inmate escaped through open door that malfunctioned

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JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence Sheriff’s Office on Monday explained how an inmate escaped the county jail over the weekend.

An inmate at the Florence County Detention Center escaped the booking area through a partially open door that malfunctioned, according to Maj. Michael Nunn with the sheriff’s office.  The inmate also wrestled free from a corrections officer who tried to keep him from leaving, Nunn said.

Bryce Wayne Altman, 21, of Johnsonville escaped at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The detention center was immediately placed on lock-down and the escape siren was activated to notify the public of the escape. A press release was also sent to local news media to advise the public in the area of the Detention Center to shelter in place.

“We are reviewing this incident as well as our policies and procedures to determine how Altman escaped our facility and will make any changes necessary to ensure that this does not happen again,” said Sheriff Billy Barnes. “The safety of our community is our paramount duty.”

Officials quickly established a perimeter in the area of Friendfield Road, Drag Strip Road and Lynch’s River after the escape. 

Altman was caught about 1.5 miles from the detention center at about 3 p.m. At one point, he is alleged to have wrestled with a SC Highway Patrol trooper and unsuccessfully attempted to commandeer his patrol vehicle, Nunn reported.

Altman initially was admitted to the detention center on Friday on charges of breach of trust, malicious Injury to property, burglary (second degree) and financial card fraud.  A Florence County magistrate set bond for Altman’s release earlier on Sunday.

 Altman will now face additional charges of escape and resisting arrest.  Under South Carolina law, escape is a felony punishable by a fine in the discretion of the court or up to ten years in prison, or both.

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