Judge Chases Fleeing Inmates


Photo credit to ABC News

Judge Buzzard chases fleeing inmates out of courtroom

Nicholas Silva, Layout Editor

In Chehalis, Washington, about 85 miles from Seattle, a routine court case took an unexpected turn.  Tanner Jacobson, 22, and Kodey Howard, 28, were under probation for drug and weapon charges, and were in court on October 16th, the original crimes are unknown, but they now face a plethora of charges.

Towards the end of the hearing, Jacobson and Howard fled the courthouse. District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard, who was presiding, was not about to let them escape. In an interview with ABC affiliate KOMO, Buzzard reported, “I was shocked at first. I didn’t know what to think. By the time they hit the door, I’m like, ‘There’s nobody between them and the street.’ So I wanted at least to find out where they were going.” He flung off his robe (having learned that robes are not conducive to running) and quickly followed the inmates through the bowels of the courthouse.

The inmates themselves had a difficult time, being in handcuffs, and would often stumble or even fall over. Despite their head start, this provided Buzzard enough time to catch up to them. He managed to grab and restrain Howard as the two attempted to exit the building. Jacobson was later apprehended by authorities a couple of blocks away.

Both men now face second-degree escape charges. This is not the first time something has happened in the Chehalis courthouse. In April, Buzzard had to tackle a litigant who assaulted an attorney. In the wake of these incidents, Buzzard is looking into ways to better secure the courthouse, but cites a small budget as an interference in this process.

In a similar incident earlier this month, Raitonn Woodford, 29, tried to flee a Kentucky courthouse after being sentenced to five years in prison for drug and weapons charges. Woodford was soon apprehended, but injured a deputy in the process. He faces charges of escape, assault, and resisting arrest. However, the judge in this case, Barry Willett, reports that this is the only instance of a suspect fleeing his courthouse in his nineteen year long career.