Shackled inmate on crutches flees during visit to hospital

April 27, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

A 17-year-old inmate being treated for a foot injury escaped from custody at a downtown hospital yesterday -- despite being shackled at the ankles and hobbling on crutches, hospital officials said.

The youth, last seen near University of Maryland Medical Center wearing a baggy blue prison jumpsuit, was being sought last night.

Medical center spokeswoman Jill Bloom said the escape occurred about 10:30 a.m. near the hospital's orthopedic center, when the youth, from the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County, asked permission to use the bathroom.

A state guard consented and stood 5 to 10 feet from the bathroom door, Ms. Bloom said. After a few minutes, the guard went into the bathroom, and the youth was gone, she said.

Ms. Bloom said the only way out of the bathroom is the front door.

Hospital security guards and University of Maryland police officers were stationed at every hospital entrance, but the youth apparently left through an emergency room door.

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services is investigating how the youth escaped, agency spokeswoman Jacqueline Lampell said. She declined to give the reason for his detention.

Authorities said the youth had a gunshot wound, but Ms. Lampell said no inmate had been wounded in a youth detention center. She would not release the name of the Cheltenham guard; The Sun does not print the names of juvenile offenders.

The missing youth was described as a black male, 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds and with dreadlocks. He was last seen headed toward Southwest Baltimore, where authorities said he lived.

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