Ollen Halsey

Ollen Halsey

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is grieving the loss of an employee that officials say is connected to COVID-19.

Prison officials say that 35-year-old Ollen Halsey, a human resources specialist in the Training and Leader Development Division in Huntsville, died on Wednesday. 

Ollen began showing symptoms of COVID-19 on Sept. 1 and tested positive. Officials say that he went to an urgent care facility on Sept. 7 and was then transported to Baylor St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, where he was admitted to the ICU and his condition deteriorated.

“Mr. Halsey was a dedicated employee of TDCJ and we are grateful for his service,” said TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier. “He was an integral member of our TDCJ community and we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and co-workers.”

Ollen had 10 years of service with the agency. His mother, Sharon, is also a TDCJ employee in the payroll department. Ollen was engaged to Holly Cook. His interests included playing Dungeons and Dragons, fishing, attending BBQ cook-offs with his friends and he was a member of the BBQ team at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Training and Leader Development Division Director David Yebra said, “Ollen was admired by the entire TLDD team because of his commitment to our mission. Ollen ensured that he did everything he could to help the agency.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has had at least 62 employees who have died in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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