SOUTH BEND — St. Joseph County police don’t plan to enact any specific tougher policies after the second escape attempt by an inmate in the past two months, the county sheriff said.
Sheriff Mike Grzegorek said inmate Timothy Patterson apparently caught deputies off guard when he bolted this morning, but the sheriff said he was proud of how the officers responded.
“You try to prepare for every possible situation, but you can’t always anticipate anything someone is going to do,” Grzegorek said. “When a situation occurs, officers have to react.”
In a statement Wednesday, county police Lt. Matt Blank said Patterson fled from deputies about 8:40 a.m. as they entered the St. Joseph County Courthouse from a tunnel in the courthouse’s basement level. The deputies were taking Patterson to a scheduled court hearing.
Patterson, whose legs were not shackled because of open wounds on his ankles, ran up the stairs and out of the courthouse with police in pursuit, Blank said. Officers captured Patterson a few minutes later after chasing him to a parking garage at the corner of Main and Wayne streets, Blank said.
Grzegorek said he has no plans to eliminate reasonable accommodations for inmates with injuries or disabilities.
“Obviously, we have to be humane in our treatment of inmates, and we have to be cognizant of injuries,” Grzegorek said. “It’s my feeling that the best way to deter future incidents is to aggressively prosecute any escape attempts.”
Patterson was initially being held on charges of domestic battery and felony operating while intoxicated, along with a hold for the city of LaPorte, Blank said. Patterson would likely face additional charges for his attempted escape, though he had not been charged this afternoon, Grzegorek said.
In April, an inmate who worked in the county jail kitchen escaped by ramming a bread truck through a fence before fleeing to Bremen with his girlfriend and another woman, police said. Police recaptured that inmate, 27-year-old Franklin Rice, later that day.
At the time, police said the driver of the bread truck had left the key in the ignition, allowing Rice to commandeer the truck. After that escape, Grzegorek changed jail policies, requiring that drivers of delivery trucks turn their vehicles off and banning inmates from helping to load trucks.
Staff writer Christian Sheckler: