Violent escape attempt foiled


A press release from the Bell County Sheriff’s Department says Monday at 9:35 p.m. Bell County dispatch received a call from a Bell County Detention Center corrections officer in regards to two inmates attempting to escape from the facility — and jail employees being assaulted in the process. The release said Bell County Deputy Joel Quillen stated the two inmates — 26-year-old Christopher Dixon, of Middlesboro and 35-year-old Kenneth Williams, also of Middlesboro — had taken corrections Sgt. John Partin and Officer Valery Brock by force, and were holding them against their will.

Pineville Police Department Officer James Taulbee and Bell County Deputy Robin Venable were first on the scene, according to the release. Quillen, the third officer on scene, stated Partin and Brock said they were attempting to relocate Williams and Dixon inside the facility when the two inmates attacked the jailers with hidden, broken broom handles. The release also explains that Quillen went on to say the video recording showed, during the violent scuffle, the officers radios were taken from them by the inmates, and Dixon destroyed the phone lines in the booking area by smashing, then ripping them from the wall.

The release said Dixon then contacted the control room by radio, threatening to kill a jailer if they were not let out of the building. Jailer Gary Ferguson credits Officer Amy Webb for not opening the cell doors, and allowing the two to escape from the facility. When Williams and Dixon realized their demands would not be met, the report said they began assaulting Partin and Brock with the broom handles. It also said Partin was able to get to his pepper spray and deploy it at Dixon. Williams then came up behind Partin, grabbed the spray, and turned it on the officer while still restraining Brock.

The incident ended, the report said — when Taulbee and Venable entered the scene, and with assistance from two unnamed inmates, corralled Williams and Dixon with tazers until the pair gave up. They were placed back in custody inside the jail. Both Partin and Brock were taken to the Pineville Community Hospital for injuries sustained in the attack.

Quillen charged both men with one count each — first-degree escape, first-degree promoting contraband, third-degree assault on correction employee and unlawful imprisonment.

Williams was originally arrested on June 20, for first-degree robbery and 3 counts of first-degree possession of a forged instrument. Dixon was originally arrested for attempted murder of a Middlesboro woman, a parole violation, theft by unlawful taking, and third-degree assault on a corrections employee.

Also assisting on scene was the Kentucky State Police. According to the video, the response time for authorities in the incident was four minutes.

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