Judge Chased Convicts Who Try To Escape His Courtroom

Courthouse security footage obtained by The Chronicle of an attempted  escape by two inmates Tuesday afternoon depicts Judge R.W. Buzzard  grabbing hold of one escapee just as he’s primed to exit the building. The second escapee made it a few blocks away before he too was caught by  authorities. For their troubles, Tanner D. Jacobson, 22, of Onalaska and Kodey L.  Howard, 28, of Winlock were each hit with a felony charge of  second-degree escape. Surveillance shows four inmates being escorted out by one deputy, who is  out of frame for most of the footage provided by Lewis County. Howard  and Jacobson are last in line, and both, rather than walk through an  exit to the right of the judge’s seat where inmates are brought in and  out, pivot and run for the public door at the back of the courtroom. Howard is seen in the lead with Jacobson right on his heels, both taking  an unobstructed course through the third-floor courtroom, and out the  door. Buzzard gives chase, shedding his black robe and running after  them. Cameras situated in each floor of the stairwell show that Jacobson took  the lead, rapidly descending down the four flights of stairs to the  bottom floor — sometimes taking several steps at a time. The distance  between Jacobson and Howard widens with each flight, and Buzzard is seen  closing in on Howard, grabbing him and going out of frame just as  Howard was about to go through an open emergency exit door on the ground  floor. Several people, who aren’t clearly seen on camera, emerge on the  scene in seconds. “These things don’t happen very often,” said Sheriff Rob Snaza. “They’re  few and far between.” Snaza said this represents the second such incident within the last  couple of years, that he’s aware of. There are monthly meetings to  discuss courthouse security issues. During this incident, Snaza said, security measures and quick  communication made deputies aware of the incident quickly. The only  deputy in the room did not give chase because he had two other inmates  in his care, said Snaza. “We’re very aware of what’s going on at a moment’s notice,” he said. Other Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Jail officials didn’t immediately  return requests for comment. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told The Chronicle in a previous  interview that one idea to curb courthouse incidents was to allow for  additional armed guards — whether they be deputies or private security —  monitoring the courthouse at all times.

Sharon Green

Sharon Green

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