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Published: Wednesday, 11/2/2005

Escapee didn't wear leg shackles

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Busby Busby
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Two Lucas County sheriff's deputies may have violated department policy by failing to put leg shackles on a jail inmate who escaped from their custody during a visit to a local hospital.

Isaac Busby, 45, of Cone Street, was recaptured yesterday, less than 24 hours after he ran past the deputies in a brown jail jumpsuit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center and escaped.

Sheriff James Telb yesterday acknowledged that deputies Michael Hirt and Joseph Szymanski may not have followed practices and policies that call for keeping leg shackles on such inmates.

"If we find where the officers violated practices, they'll certainly be disciplined," he said.

Busby, who has done six stints in state prison on various charges, was taken into custody without further incident at a central-Toledo bank.

Authorities were waiting for him when he went to the Key Bank branch at Central Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard to get money from his account. Wearing street clothes, Busby was met by eight members of the FBI Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force.

"He is on disability, and we figured his check would be coming direct deposit. We thought he would show up eventually, and he did," said Jeff Kozak, a sheriff's investiga-tor assigned to the task force.

Mr. Kozak said Busby made no statement after he was taken into custody. He did not know what Busby did during his nearly 20 hours on the run. Busby was returned to the jail and charged with escape.

Toledo police arrested him Friday night on charges of aggravated burglary and receiving stolen property. He was booked into the county jail early Saturday.

Later in the day, Busby complained of chest pain. He was examined by paramedics, who took him to the hospital, jail authorities said.

Busby was in the bathroom in the hospital's observation area Monday afternoon when he bolted past the two deputies, jail authorities said. The deputies and a nurse chased Busby, but the deputies lost him on Page Street, said Jim O'Neal, jail corrections administrator.

The sheriff's office is doing an investigation and will forward information to Sheriff Telb, who could send the matter to internal affairs for possible disciplinary action. There have been no changes in the deputies' job status, jail authorities said.

This is the second time in two years that an inmate has escaped from a local hospital.

John A. Perez escaped from St. Anne Mercy Hospital in September, 2003, after he finished taking a shower and asked to return to the bathroom so he could spit out blood from a jaw injury he suffered in a fight in a jail elevator.

Perez wasn't wearing leg irons because he had just gotten out of the shower. The guard - a private security officer - turned his head, and the inmate ran out the door and down the hall and a fire escape wearing only a hospital gown.

He was arrested seven months later in Texas.

After his escape, the sheriff's office changed its procedure on security for inmates who require hospitalization. The corrections administrator or his designee would decide whether to assign a deputy or hire private security to guard the inmate during his or her hospital stay. Private security is cheaper than using deputies.

No immediate changes have been made in the way deputies guard hospitalized inmates in the wake of Busby's escape.

"Short of myself going there with them, I hope the officers [follow] the rules and regulations and do it right," Sheriff Telb said.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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