Metropolitan State Hospital officials say they have worked out an agreement with the Orange County Sheriff's Department that will keep dangerous prisoners out of the state mental hospital in Norwalk, where four patients recently escaped. A similar agreement is already in effect with Los Angeles County, they added.
Executive Administrator Don Miller said two of the inmates who escaped earlier this month were dangerous prisoners from Orange County who should not have been accepted into the hospital. They were William Sanders, 23, of Huntington Beach, who was committed for allegedly trying to kill his mother, and John Martinez, 30, of La Habra, who was committed on suspicion of kidnaping. Both have been recaptured.
A third patient who escaped surrendered before leaving the facility, while a fourth is still at large. Although security has been increased at the hospital, Miller said, officials will not be able to prevent all future escapes. Instead they will concentrate on keeping dangerous prisoners out of the hospital, he said.
"If somebody gets out and goes down to the local bakery and steals a couple of rolls, that doesn't concern me. If they get out and try to kill somebody, that concerns me," Miller said.