Detained Teens Charged With Assault Of Cafeteria Workers
by Kim Gebbia
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two teens have been accused of assaulting two female employees at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center and using a car to break through a detention center fence.
Officials at the juvenile detention are asking how it happened and how they can prevent this type of violent escape from happening again.
The perimeter fence remained patched up from where the teens drove a 2003 Silver Corolla through the perimeter onto interstate 40. But they only made it out after assaulting two female employees in the facility kitchen.
DCS officials tell NewsChannel 5 two 16-year-old boys attacked the workers after dinner Sunday night. The police report said the first employee was pushed, had her shirt thrown over her face, punched and put in a choke hold. The other employee was jumped, hit in the head with her radio and punched in the face.
"Right now the situation is being investigated. We are trying to figure out what went wrong and how we can learn from this experience and ensure that it will never happen again," said Tracy Haney, the Woodland Hills interim superintendent.
While Haney and DCS evaluate whether there should have been more guards on site during kitchen clean up, they are also looking into whether employees made themselves a target by breaking Woodland Hills' car key policy.
"We do have lock boxes our staff are supposed to put their keys in, Right now we are trying to figure out how this happened and how the kids ended up with the keys," said Haney.
No employee should have their keys on them while at work inside the facility. Officials are even looking into changing the parking policy to require all staff to park outside the perimeter fence.
It's another security breach at a center that has seen its fair share of violence. Several years ago, teens inside used brooms and bricks to stage a riot against the guards.
Woodland Hills was also named in a national study for having some of the highest rates of sexual assault amongst teens and female employees. They have since addressed many of those issues with increased security guards and cameras throughout the building.
After Sunday night's attack and escape officials are brainstorming once again how to keep the facility safe for teens and for the employees inside.
The two teens are now back in DCS custody. They were caught by troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in Fayette County hours after their escape.
They will both be sent to different facilities and it will be up to the District Attorney's office to decide whether to charge them as juveniles or adults.
The two teens were in the facility for aggravated robbery and evading arrest.
They will face new charges of aggravated assault and escape after Sunday's incident.