Escape conspiracy unproven

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 1, 2008

WINDSOR – Details of the Wednesday escape of Danyashi Terrell Wood, 28, from the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail continue to emerge.

Wood, who was convicted Tuesday for assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a government officer, resist, delay and obstruct, being a habitual felon and driving while license revoked, was sentenced to 93-121 months in prison.

He escaped from custody at the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail after what Jail Administrator Craig Friedman called a deliberate effort on the part of other inmates to distract guards.

Friedman said he had reviewed the videotape of the incident and that approximately 30 inmates were in the outdoor recreation area with two male officers. The officers instructed the inmates to return inside and the senior officer went into the building to direct traffic, leaving the probationary officer at the door.

“As they were heading back in, a small group of inmates surrounded the officer and seemed to be barraging him with questions or complaints, seemingly creating a distraction while Mr. Wood was making his escape,” Friedman said. “I believe it was deliberate.”

Friedman said the taller inmates surrounded the guard, creating a barrier for Wood to go over the building.

“It was apparent to me watching this whole thing that they were acting in concert with Mr. Wood to keep the young trainee officer occupied while Mr. Wood made his getaway,” Friedman stressed.

While he said he couldn’t prove an escape conspiracy, the actions taken by Wood later on confirmed it in his mind.

“Mr. Wood had some assistance since we now know he met a friend at a service station down the road,” he said. “You don’t get that far without prior arrangements. His escape was well-planned.”

According to the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, Wood left a maintenance truck stolen from Bertie County Schools at the Duck Thru convenience store located a short distance fromt he jail on U.S. 13/17.

Sheriff Greg Atkins said Wood should be considered armed and dangerous and said officers would continue to look for Wood until he was captured.

Wood was last seen as a passenger in an older model dark purple Ford Explorer. The driver of the vehicle was unknown but there was a female passenger in the SUV.

According to Bertie County Chief Deputy John Holley, the vehicle was found at a convenience store in Powellsville. Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman confirmed Friday afternoon that he had taken the vehicle into the custody of the Sheriff’s Office as evidence.

Holley said the search was continuing in a wide-ranging area to get Wood back into custody.

The escapee is described as a black male with light to medium complexion and a pony tail. He stands 5’-9” tall and weighs 160 pounds. Wood has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information as to his whereabouts is asked to call the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at 794-5330.

Wood has a long history of attempting to escape the long arm of the law.

On Aug. 30, 2004, Wood assaulted then Aulander Police Chief Jimmy Barmer. That assault led to the charges from which Wood was sentenced on Tuesday.

After that incident, Wood remained at-large until his arrest in Murfreesboro on Feb. 26, 2006. He was jailed, but made bond.

On Oct. 2, 2006, Wood made a scheduled court date in Bertie County Superior Court. However, he failed to return following a court recess.

Wood didn’t surface again until December of last year at which time he was arrested in Richmond, Va. From there he was returned to Bertie County on Dec. 10 where he has been incarcerated in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail until his Wednesday escape.