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Man escapes from Virginia mental hospital twice in 3 years

Central State Hospital
Posted at 6:33 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 14:39:33-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. – For the second time in less than three years, the same resident at Central State Hospital has walked away and then driven out of state before getting caught by police.

A bent gate was the only sign of what happened Thursday evening at a business near the back entrance of the mental hospital. But the damage was not discovered until early Friday morning.

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Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County

"People started coming to work, found the gate had been forcibly opened and a Mack truck... was missing from the property," Major William Knot with the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office said.

The damage and theft happened around the time deputies said they were called by Central State about Zachery Oakey.

"He didn't return back to his residence building from a detail they had working on the grounds," Knott explained.

Staff and deputies could not located Oakey and a warrant for escape was issued.

Knott said Oakey “didn't harm anyone” and “didn't use any force.”

The stolen Mack truck had GPS on board.

"They were able to track the vehicle to the Baltimore area,” Knott explained. “Maryland State Police were contacted, they were able to locate the vehicle, the vehicle was driven by Mr. Oakey and he was taken into custody in Maryland."

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Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County

Oakey also walked away from Central State Hospital in 2019 and sheriff's investigators said he broke into the same business near the hospital’s back entrance.

Knott said he stole a pickup truck, left the area and was later picked up in Ohio.

Richard Wilson Garrett also walked away from the facility last November. He was taken into custody two days later.

Officials with Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services said they could not confirm the identity of individuals in their hospitals citing state and federal privacy laws. But they did issue the following statement to WTVR CBS 6, which reads in part:

“Central State Hospital is immediately looking into how this happened and adding preventative measures. It may be helpful to note that longer-term patients go through a process in their recovery that allows them increased privileges,” officials said. “We don't just give up on patients who repeat mistakes, but patterns of behavior affect that privileging process, especially when ensuring public safety.”

Oakey was convicted on several charges related to his escape in 2019. He is now charged with escape, theft of a vehicle, destruction of property, trespassing and driving on a suspended license.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for continuing coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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