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Deputy: Man attempts escape from Bulloch jail, found in ceiling
Allen Thomas Clifton - photo by Special
    A man arrested for battering his wife tried escaping from the Bulloch County Jail Wednesday, but failed and was captured in the ceiling.
    Allen Thomas Clifton, 49, Dry Branch Village, was already out on bond for a previous charge of simple battery (family violence), but repeated the offense, beating his wife and breaking her ribs, said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel.
    The woman was treated for her injuries at the emergency room, he said.
    While waiting in an interrogation room at the Bulloch County Jail after his arrest for the most recent charge of simple battery, Clifton saw a way out, he said.
    The jail has undergone extensive renovations and expansions over the past year, and workers who replaced duct work in the older part of the building failed to replace security screws keeping a vent cover in place, he said.
    While deputies and a jailer left Clifton alone in the room for a brief moment, he took advantage of the opportunity and climbed through the vent into the ceiling, McDaniel said.
    “For about 15 minutes we looked for him in the wide expanse of the new ceiling we now have,” he said. “We were afraid he would fall through” the hanging-style ceiling.
    Clifton found his way from the older part of the jail into the new section, where inmates were just moved this week.
    Apparently Clifton injured himself during his brief flight, as his right eye was scratched and bleeding after capture, McDaniel said. “He didn’t have a flashlight up there, and I think he ran into something.”
    Clifton struggled when apprehended, but was taken into custody once again without serious incident, he said.
    After capturing the would-be escapee, “We put him in a more secure room,” he said.
    In addition to charges for battering his wife, and pending charges of criminal damage to property, Clifton now faces an escape charge, he said.
    During his venture, Clifton broke portions of the ceiling, ripped wires from their places and broke cables, he said.
    McDaniel said he expected some sort of incident after moving inmates to the new jail area. “I said, this is the first day in and somebody has to give it a try.”
    Sheriff’s officials inspected the facility searching for other areas that could pose problems, but the only vent that had not been secured was the one in the room where Clifton tried to escape, he said.
    Clifton was booked into the Bulloch County Jail and remains there without bond, he said.

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