Prison Inmate Driving in Fatal Lincoln Crash


A Nebraska prison inmate with previous drunken- and reckless-driving convictions was driving the state van involved in a fatal crash in Lincoln Tuesday.

According to the Department of Correctional Services, 35-year-old Jeremy Dobbe was assigned to drive inmates to and from work details out of the Community Corrections Center in Lincoln.

It was while on his way to pick up other inmates around 10:30 p.m. that Dobbe's speeding van struck a minivan nearly head-on killing the driver, 47-year-old Joyce Meeks.

Dobbe is currently serving a 5-7 year sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, terroristic threats and criminal mischief from Colfax and Butler counties.

Many are questioning why an inmate with previous driving convictions would be allowed to operate a state-owned vehicle.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says inmates selected to drive vans for the prison's work release programs first go through a review of their driving and chemical abuse records.

The department released some details of the policy on Thursday. They said the selection of an inmate van driver includes a review of the inmate's driving record, with particular attention to recent history. The department says drivers also undergo weekly urine testing to check for chemical abuse.

The department says they will be reviewing the incident to determine if any changes to the program or policy are necessary.