Records: Escapee had tried to flee before


Stephen Phillips

By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Stephen Phillips’ recent escape from the Roosevelt County Detention Center Friday night was not his first attempt.
District Court documents show the 20-year-old had tried to escape in December while being transported to the jail from the hospital.
“He’s been locked down quite a bit,” said the jail’s Administrator David Casanova.
Phillips’ successful escape attempt on Friday was short-lived after he and fellow inmate Ruben Lozano, 42, escaped through the jail’s roof from Lozano’s cell.
The inmates used a blanket to create a makeshift rope, according to Casanova, to come down from the roof of the jail. The blanket tore on metal it was tied around after Lozano made it to the ground. Phillips suffered an injury to his leg when he jumped from the roof.
He approached Jeannie Ornelas’ residence in the 300 block of East Rose and asked her for a ride. When Phillips admitted he had just escaped from jail, Ornelas persuaded him to turn himself in.
Lozano remains at-large.
After Friday’s escape, Casanova says Phillips continues to be watched heavily. The rest of the jail remains on lockdown as well.
“(Phillips) is locked down in one of our holding cells where there’s constant supervision,” Casanova said.
In December, Phillips was transported to Roosevelt General Hospital for treatment because he was complaining about having kidney pain, according to the arrest affidavit.
While at the hospital, Phillips would not allow the ER personnel to conduct diagnostic testing, which included drawing blood, and Phillips began to yell and use profanity, court documents show.
Phillips continued to refuse treatment during the December visit, stating he’d deal with the pain, so he was transported back to the jail.
While in transport, Phillips attempted to open the right rear door of the detention vehicle but the doors were locked, court documents show. Phillips was also in shackles at the time of his attempted escape.
“He went through disciplinary process, but he was locked down for a while at that point,” Casanova said.
Phillips is a maximum security inmate, according to Casanova.
Phillips is being held on multiple charges, related to burglary and escaping from jail. Lozano has been charged with drug trafficking.

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