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Latino Daily News

Monday April 2, 2012

Puerto Rican Jail Guard Found Guilty in Drowning Deaths of 8 Inmates

Puerto Rican Jail Guard Found Guilty in Drowning Deaths of 8 Inmates

Photo: Sbana Hoyos Prison

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A jury in Puerto Rico found a security official guilty of the deaths of eight prisoners who drowned when the vehicle he was transporting them in between prison and the courthouse was submerged by floodwaters in the northern city of Arecibo.

The jury, comprised of nine women and three men, found Hector Cruz Santiago guilty of negligently driving the van the inmates from the Sabana Hoyos prison were riding in and causing their deaths last November.

Two other prisoners in the group of 10 who were being transported to court appointments were able to be rescued by Corrections Department personnel.

At that time, the director of the state Emergency Management Agency, Nino Correa, confirmed that all the prisoners were handcuffed and had their feet shackled, which made it practically impossible for them to be able to swim.

Preliminary versions of the incident were that Cruz Santiago decided to drive across a stream in which the water level had risen due to heavy downpours, and the current swept the van downriver.