STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It is the last place you would want to be if you're suspected of drinking and driving. Richard Donell Lee, 63, is accused of ramming his truck into the Stone County Regional Correctional Facility on Wednesday night. He is charged with DUI.
The crash left a huge hole at the entrance of the building, but the damage could have been much worse. The dramatic video showed a Chevrolet Silverado plowing into the waiting area, turning a quiet night at the Stone County Regional Correctional Facility into a chaotic scene.
"This door here was completely shattered. It was just a frame left," said Stone County Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds.
Pieces of plywood now cover the large hole where the glass double doors once stood.
Olds said shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday, the front desk clerk, Jamie Farmer, saw a truck moving fast across the front of the building. Then, she heard a loud crash. Farmer ran over to see what happened, and immediately notified the control room.
"She goes back and she calls them, 'There's a truck in the lobby,' and of course, they thought she might have been joking," said Olds.
The warden, sheriff and chief deputy were called in to check out the situation.
"We came up here and really there was a truck in the lobby. It was kind of like, you want a drive-thru jail? Thank God nobody was hurt," Olds said.
Deputies say they found Lee slumped over in the driver's seat.
"He had some blood on his hand, so it scared them. They wanted to make sure he was OK," said Olds.
Deputies credit the solid concrete wall with stopping the truck, because at that very moment, a church service was going on right on the other side of the wall.
"They said they saw the drink machines shake when the truck hit the wall. If it went through there, it's a possibility the inmates could have been sitting there doing their Bible study or something, and it would have hit somebody," said Olds.
Olds said Lee told deputies he just wanted to visit his son, who was in jail on a probation violation.
"He was very remorseful, and this morning, actually, him and his children came back and spoke to the sheriff, and he apologized for what happened last night," said Olds. "I think Mr. Richard is going to think about what he has done for a long time, because he could have hurt a lot of people."
Lee bonded out Wednesday night. Olds said she hopes to have a temporary door in place before visitation this weekend.