Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Van Catches Fire on the Hilltop Prison Unit


October 15, 2014

Gatesville - A Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) van caught fire today around 1:30 PM at the Hilltop prison unit in Gatesville.  A passerby captured the incident on video.  At the time of the fire, no inmates were on board the vehicle.  No injuries are being reported at this time.  The van was a total loss as flames quickly spread throughout the vehicle. 
With an aging vehicle fleet, the State of Texas continues to prolong the replacement of equipment and facilities, even though its more costly to maintain in the long run.  State budget writers mostly plan for two year budgets where the least amount of money is spent, even though replacement of aging vehicles would be more cost efficient for taxpayers in the long run. 
Currently the Texas Department of Criminal Justice vehicle fleet consist of approximately 2,200 vehicles.  The vehicle replacement budget requested for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was reduced to $6,906,785 from $11,040,894 in 2014.  (See Legislative Appropriation Request LAR 2016-2017)

The agency's conservative replacement criteria for vehicles include:
-Diesel truck tractors 10 yr / 500,000 miles

-Diesel buses 10 yr / 300,000 miles

-Passenger vans/vehicles 5 yr / 100,000 miles

This replacement criteria is hardly ever used and state employees are subjected to driving dangerous vehicles that have hundreds of thousands of miles on them. 







  1. Our vans have 350k plus n still being driven

  2. Just took out an 08 Focus with 230,000+ miles on it. And that's one of the newest cars I've used.....

  3. I speak as an officer the vans are horrible death traps

  4. They care more about money & pleasing the inmates than they do about us, our vehicles or our equipment. They need to get rid of all of the old clunkers & get newer vehicles in addition to newer & better equipment. We're constantly working with vehicles & equipment that desperately need replacing, but they'll never do it. Yes, we already know, no one forced any of us to accept the job, however, if they want us to operate to our fullest extent, then for petes' sake, give us the best tools out there. They need to quit getting their underwear in a twist whenever an inmate whines & they need to start putting some of our ideas into practical use for a change. Obviously, this video is a good indication of one of many places of where to begin! Don't even know why i'm bothering to write this, because it'll never happen!

  5. Our wonderful training Sgt was operating this van and we are all just thinkful he could come back and help us graduate this Friday. We love u Sgt. Class of 9-11-14GVT.

  6. I remember taking inmates to Houston and John Sealy hosp. in vehicles that I wouldn't put my family in! Yes they are incarcerated but they are still human beings. Plus there are always 2 officers that more than likely have families. If it were just the vehicles it would be bad enough but the lack of enough employees at times is also a hazard.

  7. As a officer and work Lane Murray unit. I can tell you something that going to blow your minds . Yes we have crappy equipment. But
    we get a half way decent patrol vehicle. Guess what happens, you got people that drive it that don't give a shit about it. The reason for that is it's not there personal vehicle. So they treat it like crap. Also I realized that that vehicle is not made to run 24/7. They need some down time.

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