Repairs to jail wall begin

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Al Key/DRC
Workers repair the hole in the wall of the west wing of the Denton County Jail on East McKinney Street on Tuesday in Denton.

Construction has begun to repair a portion of the west wall at the Denton County Jail after a man allegedly attempted to drive through the wall after being denied a visit to his son last month.

Denton County Sheriff’s Office officials said they noticed heavy construction beginning sometime over the weekend.

County commissioners awarded the construction contract to Denton-based Tremont Construction Services on March 19. Beth Fleming, county director of purchasing, said Tremont’s bid of $61,547.07 was the lowest of three bids received.

Sheriff’s officials said that during afternoon visitation hours on March 9, Rolando Hernandez crashed into the back of the west wing of the jail’s pre-trial facility. Sheriff’s officials reported that he was denied a visit to his son because he appeared to be “extremely intoxicated.”

Hernandez of Lewisville got into his red Dodge truck and ran into two cars before he turned around and smashed into the wall of the jail, investigators said.

“The truck jumped the curb and ran through the security fence and hit the back of the building, knocking two inmates from their beds,” Sheriff Will Travis said at the time of the incident.

The two inmates were treated for minor injuries and placed back into jail.

Sgt. Larry Kish has said pod unit 16 received extensive damage. The outside wall of the facility had a hole 3 1/2 to 5 inches wide, he said. Inside, bricks were knocked from the wall and the entire damaged area was estimated to be 3 1/2 feet wide by 5 feet tall.

The 48 inmates housed in the pod had to be relocated to various empty cells throughout the jail. Sandi Brackeen, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the damage hasn’t caused overcrowding and the county has yet to turn anyone away.

Hernandez, 34, is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one felony criminal mischief charge.

Brackeen said it was unclear when construction would be complete.

Estimates given in previous interviews said total repairs could take up to 45 days. Once construction is complete, the inmates will be moved back to their original cells, she said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

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