Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 20, 2014

W.Va. juvenile center damaged during riot


Associated Press

PARKERSBURG — Authorities are investigating a riot that damaged the commons area at the Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center in Parkersburg.

Six juveniles in custody at the facility destroyed the interior of the commons area. The youths broke windows, destroyed heating and cooling ductwork and broke sprinkler heads away from piping, Parkersburg Police Chief Joseph Martin said.

“The destruction was definitely up there on the scale,” Martin told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

The juveniles were confined to the commons area during the riot, which occurred Tuesday evening. The center’s staff regained control in about two hours, said Martin.

Six Parkersburg officers responded to a call from the center for assistance. Martin said he left a Parkersburg City Council budget meeting to respond to the incident.

“There was no imminent threat to the public around the facility,” Martin said. “The youths were contained the whole time.”

He said the juveniles disassembled the tables in the commons area, and then used the tables’ metal supports to cause additional damage.

The West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services told WTAP-TV that the incident is being investigated.

“As this investigation progresses we will evaluate the information available to us and file the appropriate charges in the Wood County Circuit Court,” the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday in a statement.

The 24-bed center is a co-educational facility that serves primarily north-central West Virginia. It houses youths who have been charged with crimes that would be punishable by incarceration if an adult committed them.