Breaking News: Deputies resign after review of inmate escape

TAVARES – Two Lake County detention deputies have resigned rather than fight the sheriff’s decision to fire them for allowing an inmate to steal cell keys and escape, a sheriff’s spokesman said today.

Deputies Keith Totten and Lynn Salvas were found to be neglectful in their duties which allowed inmate Jason Dennis, 25, to escape Nov. 17 from the sheriff’s substation in Clermont. Dennis, who had been arrested on charges of violating a domestic-violence injuction and illegally possessing a firearm, was re-captured a day later.

“We have a zero tolerance for anything less than 100 percent security within our jail or other holding facility,” Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders said. “This type of incident cannot and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”

Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Herrell said an internal investigation determined that Dennis seized keys to the facility while he was outside his cell attempting to make a phone call. The keys had been left unsecured in the booking area.

Herrell said Totten and Salvas, veteran detention deputies who were on duty at the time, were responsible for the security of the inmate.


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