Officials won't comment after maintenance worker killed at Hays - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Officials won't comment after maintenance worker killed at Hays State Prison

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A worker at Hays State Prison was killed on Tuesday after an accident on the job. Dale Mitchell, 50, was a long-time maintenance worker at the facility.

Officials at Hays State Prison refused to comment on the accident. Mitchell's family says they're in the dark, too, still waiting on answers from the prison about what happened.

"We really haven't been told that much, but I do know there's still an ongoing investigation," said Tammy Mitchell Campbell, who is still trying to come to terms with what happened at the prison.

Mitchell was her older brother. Campbell said she got the call from her mom shortly after the accident happened at the facility in Chattooga County.

"(She said) he had been in an accident at the prison and I needed to come to the hospital," Campbell said. "I was on my way, and she called back and told me there was no need to come."

Mitchell worked for Georgia's prison system for 25 years. According to Campbell, he started at Hays before it opened back in 1990.

"He loved his job. He loved the people he worked with," Campbell said.

Steve Brown worked with Mitchell during his 12 years at the prison. Brown was a corrections officer and would often see Mitchell making fixes inside the facility.

"He was always willing to help each other, help other people, and he was a good guy. I just couldn't believe it," Brown said.

The state prison has had its share of problems in the past concerning inmate safety. Lawsuits were filed after four inmates died during a seven-week period starting in late 2012.

"You see a lot of things in that position and that type of employment that you shouldn't have to see," Brown said.

But Mitchell found a way to make a difference, especially with his inmate work crew.

Campbell said former inmates often approached her brother if they saw him out on a job.

"They would still come up to him and tell him how much they missed him," she said.

While work friends are mourning the loss, it hurts the worst for Mitchell's close family.

"I know I could always count on him any time I needed anything", said Campbell, tearfully. "I could always call him and he would be right there for me."

Georgia's Department of Corrections Public Affairs Office did not return our multiple phone calls and messages throughout the day on Wednesday. Mitchell's autopsy results are pending, and at this time it's unclear who is investigating the death.

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