Inmate driving policy to be reviewed after fatal crash

By: Brittany Paris

Prison officials say they'll review their policies when it comes to inmates driving state-owned vehicles, like the one that killed a Lincoln woman on Tuesday.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says Jeremy Dobbe, 35, had permission to drive a state-owned van. But many are asking why he was behind the wheel.

Records show Dobbe has multiple DUI and reckless driving convictions. He's serving time now for meth.

He left the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln at 10:08 to pick up inmates at 14th and M. It's part of an inmate work release program Dobbe's been a part of since April.

Police say he was driving at high speeds around 10:30 Tuesday night when he swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting 47-year-old Joyce Meeks' car almost head-on.

She died at the scene.

“That was a big chunk out of our life that was taken from us,” Akida Holmes, Meeks' cousin, said. “So we want to know why.”

With Dobbe's past, Meeks' family members are left with questions.

“He's had all these DUIs. Why was he in a state government vehicle driving,” Holmes asked.

Prison officials say they have a work release program where inmates are selected to be drivers based on a review of that person. They look at things like driving record, attitude, chemical abuse history and reason for sentence.

The program requires inmate drivers to have a valid license and submit weekly drug tests. They wouldn't comment any further than that.

The family says they shouldn't have lost a relative this way.

“Really all we want is justice and answers,” Holmes said. “We understand anything can happen. God doesn't predict when things can happen, but this shouldn't of happened to her.”

It is important to point out we still don't know what caused Dobbe to cross over that center line. Officials have taken blood tests but won't know the results for a few days. At this point, Dobbe hasn't been charged with anything.