A Jackson County prisoner who died after jumping from a moving prisoner transport van was apparently not shackled, state police said.
Denny R. Durham of Gray Hawk was being transported from Jackson Circuit Court to the Jackson County Detention Center on Tuesday when another inmate opened the rear door of the van and Durham jumped out, state police Sgt. Dustin Hon said.
The inmate who opened the door did not jump. The men were handcuffed in front of their bodies but were not shackled to objects or to other inmates, he said.
"Normally they're cuffed in the front and shackled, or shackled together," Hon said.
The van's driver, a Jackson County court security officer, told state police the van was moving about 35 mph when the second inmate reached out an open window and opened the door from the outside. The van could not be opened from the inside.
Durham then jumped from the van. He was flown to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release from the Fayette County coroner's office.
On Tuesday, authorities had taken Durham to court, where he learned that he probably would be spending time in prison.
He had been released from jail while enrolled in the Jackson County diversion program; if he had completed the requirements of the program, a charge of first-degree possession of a controlled substance would have been removed from his record.
He apparently violated the terms of his release and was re-arrested. He was taken from the jail to court Tuesday afternoon, and was on his way back when he leaped from the van about 3:30 p.m., according to a state police news release.
The name of the prisoner who opened the van door has not been released pending criminal charges. Hon said the trooper investigating the case would present it to a Jackson County grand jury.
"The trooper is going to take that to the grand jury and let them decide what to indict for," he said.
Hon said he did not know whether the Jackson County jail had a policy regarding restraint of prisoners during transport. The Jackson County jailer could not be reached for comment Thursday.