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updated: 8/25/2014 5:59 PM

State rep: Find out what happened in Elgin Mental Health Center escape

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  • Jesse Vega

    Jesse Vega

Daily Herald report

Calling it "an alarming security breach," a state legislator is calling for an investigation into security procedures following last month's escape of a prisoner from the Elgin Mental Health Center.

State Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, urged the Illinois Auditor General to investigate the procedures used for prisoner transportation at the mental health center and other state-run mental health facilities.

A July 16 manhunt was launched to find Jesse Vega, who is accused of escaping from the rear of a van while en route to a court hearing in Lake County.

The van was occupied by three security officers and heading through a residential neighborhood on Elgin's east side when the escape took place.

"An alarming security breach happened here, and the public, a month later, is still in the dark as to how this occurred," she said in a statement.

"Due to the severity of the situation and the significant public safety risk this escape and manhunt caused, it is important that the Auditor General complete a thorough investigation as to what occurred and make recommendations on how to best prevent such an incident in the future."

Moeller denied her request is about any lack of cooperation in releasing information from EMHC.

"This is a way to get some kind of understanding about what the current practices are and where improvements can be made."

Moeller said the state department of human services should assist in the investigation.

Officials from EMHC did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Vega, 33, remained at large for eight hours, prompting an extensive manhunt involving local law enforcement agencies "while the public remained at risk," Moeller said.

A cabdriver, who said he recognized Vega from a police alert sent after the escape, alerted authorities when Vega hailed the cab. Police moved in and captured Vega without resistance.

He had been headed to a mental fitness hearing on charges related to an attack on his girlfriend last year in the parking lot of Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. The girlfriend suffered a fractured skull and swelling on her brain and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital, authorities said.

Most recently, a judge ordered another a fitness test to be conducted on Vega.

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