Texas resumes inmate transportation following pause after Gonzalo Lopez escape

The Texas state Department of Criminal Justice paused prison inmate transports after the escape of convicted killer Gonzalo Lopez

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Texas will resume the transportation of prison inmates next week following a brief pause after the escape of a convicted killer who stabbed a guard and allegedly killed five members of a family while on the run. 

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it has also added several new safety measures to prevent more incidents like the May escape of Gonzalo Lopez, 46, on a prison bus en route to a medical appointment. 

"The public’s safety is the first duty and highest obligation for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice," said Executive Director Bryan Collier. "We have completed a review of the agency’s transportation protocols and will be taking the necessary steps to add additional security measures when moving inmates throughout the state on its roadways."

Lopez freed himself from his restraints and assaulted a guard before temporarily taking over the bus and fleeing. He was on the lam for three weeks before he died in a shootout with authorities near San Antonio.

TEXAS TEMPORARILY HALTS PRISON TRANSPORTS AFTER GONZALO LOPEZ ESCAPE, 3-WEEK MANHUNT

While on the run, investigators said he murdered a man and his four grandsons. New details released by authorities this week revealed Lopez had help from other inmates on the bus who possibly created a distraction while he freed himself. 

To prevent further escapes, several new measures will be implemented for prisoner transports, including having three officers on buses, more rigorous inmate search procedures, new surveillance equipment on vehicles and a new rule that high-risk inmates will be transported by themselves. 

In addition, efforts to address the medical needs of inmates will be heightened at prison facilities to reduce the need for offsite care. 

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The results of a TDCJ Serious Incident Review and an independent security review are expected to be made public once complete.