"As other visitors were coming to the facility, they heard a little bit of a commotion," said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
However, Cristian Fuentes, 18, and Dominique Crutchfield, 33, waited from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the next day before someone came.
"Bottom line -- it's unacceptable and it should have never occurred," said Gonzalez.
The sheriff said at least eight inmates were taken out of the back two compartments, while Fuentes and Crutchfield were left inside the smaller compartment on the right side of the van.
An internal investigation is currently underway to find out exactly what went wrong. The incident is serving as an example to all Harris County Sheriff's Office employees.
"If you follow policies and procedures that are in place, something like this should never happen," added Gonzalez.
The two employees who were transporting the inmates have been assigned to desk duty during the investigation.
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