July 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Report: Technology failures, inattentive guards led to Ionia prison escape

Lansing—Multiple technology failures and inattentive guards led to the Superbowl Sunday prison escape of a convicted murderer from the Ionia Correctional Facility on Feb. 2, according to a report released Monday by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Michael David Elliot, convicted in 1993 of fatally shooting four people and burning down their Gladwin County house, escaped Ionia after crawling under a fence and carjacking a Jeep with a woman inside. He was captured Feb. 3 in Elkhart County, Ind., after the woman escaped at a gas station and called 911.

According to the report guards failed to pay attention to three different alarm systems when Elliot took advantage of a structural weakness in the fence to escape.

The report said the system used to count prisoners was flawed and the staff failed to follow informal count procedures.

Investigators reviewed 1,000 documents, examined surveillance photos, and interviewed prisoners and personnel after Gov. Rick Snyder requested an independent investigation.

According to the report “Elliot acted alone in the escape, but was able to capitalize on officer inattention, officer error, and weaknesses in the ... security system.”

The report includes 12 recommendations for improving security at the prison, from technical fixes such as larger monitors and additional audible alarms, to increased training for personnel and better count procedures.

KBouffard@detroitnews.com