A chronology of the Orange County Jail escape Nov. 20, 1988.
6:40 p.m.--Sixty-eight inmates are transported to jail roof for 1-hour recreation period. Three inmates, hiding tied-together bed sheets and tools under their clothes, immediately start prying the chain-link fence apart.
7:30--About this time, five inmates climb off the roof. One breaks his leg, but four run from the jail.
7:32--Santa Ana police receive a call that a man is taking off inmate’s clothing in front of a house about 100 yards from the jail.
7:35--A deputy on his break is stopped by a man near the jail who reports seeing somebody running from the jail in inmate’s clothing. The deputy checks the parking lot, then goes to dinner after asking a clerk to write a report about the man’s statement.
7:40--About this time, two women tell deputies they have seen four men running from the jail. The report from the women is delayed because officers have to find a Spanish-speaking clerk to translate their story. The inmates’ recreation period ends and they return to cells. As they leave, a guard mistakenly counts 68 inmates. There are actually 63.
7:46--Santa Ana police call the Sheriff’s Department to report the same call.
7:43--Santa Ana police dispatch a patrol car to the jail, 11
minutes after receiving a call about a man in jail clothing.
7:52--Lt. Jerry Kreitz, in charge of the jail this night, is told by a sergeant about a possible escape. Deputies on the roof are asked to check for a security breach. Moments later, they discover the hole in the fence.
7:55--Deputies discover the bed sheets used in the escape and, at the bottom, the inmate who had fallen from the roof and broken his leg.
8 p.m.--About this time, three of the four remaining escapees commandeer a car near the Garden Grove Freeway and Bristol Street, more than 2 miles from the jail.
8:01--Kreitz calls the main jail control center and orders deputies to freeze all inmate movement and close all fire doors. He calls two sergeants on duty in the main jail and tells them to send deputies to search the building’s perimeter. The Sheriff’s Department helicopter is called in. Santa Ana police join the search. At least three dogs from the sheriff’s and police departments are called in. A mobile command post is set up in the parking lot outside the jail.
8:05--About this time, deputies count the inmates who had been on the roof and identify the five missing prisoners. They search the cells and begin interviewing other inmates.
8:30--After establishing the escapees’ identities, deputies pull their records and 50 photos of the four inmates still at large are
reproduced. About this same time, one escapee, Eleazor Gonzales, calls his girlfriend and asks her to meet him at a library. The girlfriend told police she never reached the meeting place because she was scared away by the sheriff’s helicopter.
10:15--Kreitz is shown an internal memo from September warning the department that inmate Michael Taylor was planning an escape.
10:30--A Santa Ana police dog attacks a man in a back yard while searching for the escapees. The victim is unrelated to the escape and was arrested for prowling.
1:12 a.m.--The sheriff’s helicopter abandons its search.
Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day: Murder suspect Eleazor Gonzales surrenders to Santa Ana police.
Dec. 4: Escapees Richard Fluharty and Steven Wilson are arrested by FBI agents who staked out a Colorado apartment complex.
Feb. 2: Michael Taylor holds up a jewelry store in Chicago, escaping with $450,000, police say.
Source: Sheriff’s Department documents.