Man sentenced after escape from state mental hospital

From, November 20, 2011

The family of a mother and daughter killed in a violent crash caused by a man who later escaped from the state mental hospital implored a judge Wednesday to crack down on him.

Matthew Ingle was brought to court shackled in a wheelchair because he wasn’t cooperating with guards. Two years ago he was placed under the jurisdiction of the state psychiatric board for 20 years after he killed Pam Benson and her daughter, 11-year-old Clarice, in a crash.

He was under the influence of marijuana, plus anti-depression and anti-psychotic medications when he rammed their car in 2009. Then he escaped in September while on a supervised walk at the state mental hospital. A getaway car was waiting for him.

The prosecutor told Judge Joseph Ochoa it is still unknown who helped Ingle escape.

“There was a car running with an open door, waiting for him,” said Paige Clarkson. “When contacted by Oregon State Police detectives in this matter, he refused to say who helped him.”

The family of his victims said his 17 days on the run in September reopened many emotional wounds.

“Did you ever think about the family that we would never see again?” Kathy Pollock, grandmother of Clarice, said to Ingle. “Or the phone that would never ring, with a call from Pam and Clarice? I’m sure you didn’t since your time was occupied with planning your escape.”

Ochoa sentenced Ingle to a year and a half in prison to punish him for the escape.

“”I don’t have any doubt that you are understanding exactly what is going on today,” Ochoa said. “What I see is a person who really doesn’t accept the consequences of their actions.”

The judge noted Ingle’s criminal history that began when he was just seven years old and called him a “menace.”

After Ingle serves the 18 months in prison, he will be sent back to the mental hospital.

His escape caused policy changes at the state hospital. It reviewed its security procedures and its Internet policies, because Ingle used Facebook to talk about his escape.