Madison County inmate takes a joy ride from jail, arrested for DUI

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - After more than four years on probation, a violation landed Robert Allen Russo in the Madison County Detention Facility in June.

During his 90-day sentence, Russo was allowed to work as a class four inmate, the jail's lowest security classification.

"He was working unsupervised in our fleet shop, in case we need somebody at night to give a spare car to a deputy or fix a broken vehicle or replace a tire," said Chief Deputy Steve Morrison of the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

More than 100 inmates within the county are involved in the trustee program working various jobs for the facility and, in turn, saving the county money.

"These guys get nothing but a little bit of extra food.  They get change.  They get tips from washing cars, so they're able to buy their cigarettes and their candy bars and soft drinks," said Morrison.

With roughly a week left to serve, Russo decided to celebrate his soon-to-be freedom a little early.

Over the weekend, Morrison says Russo borrowed one of the facility's unmarked SUVs and took a joy ride to the liquor store.

"He took it upon himself to take a spare set of keys and take one of our vehicles out for a stroll and bought some liquor and got intoxicated and Huntsville Police pulled him over."

Russo was arrested for DUI, escape, eluding police and about fifteen other charges.

"He was about a week or so off from going home," said Morrison. "Now he's probably looking at some hard time."



    • Jason

      Are you attempting to excuse his behavior with an ADHD diagnosis? You do understand that the majority ADHD affected individuals are NOT criminals, don’t you?
      I knew Robert years ago. He made poor decisions then, and he apparently still does. It has nothing to do with ADHD.

  • county

    The inmates are still working at the Fleet shop and Deputies that put them there have to rely on them to repair their cars!! Would you want them repairing your car if you put them in jail?! Maybe Sheriff Dorning needs to look into hiring a REAL ASE certified mechanic to keep our Deputies on the road!!!!

  • grimbo

    As a former Corrections Officer, I have witnessed a very small amount of inmates intentionally mess up because they know that they can’t make it on the street. Sad – but true.

  • not suprised in the least

    He did it because he didn’t think he would get caught, plain and simple. Just like the article states, He was totally unsupervised all night in the Fleet Shop every night, along with a fellow Inmate who is housed there. Amazingly, they have the only keys to the Shop at night so Officers can’t check in on them unless they call ahead so the Inmate can come outside and unlock the gate. There aren’t even any cameras to monitor their activity. Class 4 Inmates are called “The Sheriffs Boys” for a reason. They have it made over there with a big screen hdtv, couches, a kitchen, fridge, stocked pantry and the Sheriff barbecues for them on a regular basis. Keep in mind, this is how Blake Dorning treats CONVICTED CRIMINALS.

  • styles

    He did it because he was having the time of his life in jail. Look, most people don’t know this but most inmates serving ‘longer’ sentences’ learn how to structure and survive in jail. They are not able to do this in the ‘free’ world. When its about time to go, they get nervous and anxious about life on the outside. They just go about doing dumb stuff in jail just to get extended stay. I’ve seen this before. The jail needs to start up a program for inmates to relax their anxieties about life on the outside.

  • Friend

    Yes, Jason, I’ve known Robert (and his twin) for a much longer time than you. I’ve seen him (at a much, much younger age) on ADHD meds that allowed him to slow down enough. Yes, he’s an adult, now, and he’s responsible for his actions. Like you, I’ve known other ADHD kids who (with a stable home) managed to keep going. He also has a lot more problems now than he did as a kid. They are compounding. I showed the article to someone with no familiarity to him and the first words out of their mouth was the same as the Styles comment. Robert had nowhere to go. Those words have come out of his mouth to people who’ve known him. Would I have put him in charge of cars? Absolutely not. Take that up with the sheriff. Robert needs a lot of structure and serious help. There are people who love him but do not have the expertise to help him.
    Where do people in his shoes go in Huntsville when they need help? Is there a mental health court in Huntsville? If not, there should be.

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