Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera told The Times-Gazette that common pleas court bailiff Ben Reno suffered two broken ribs and a possible concussion in attempting to apprehend a convicted felon who fled the courtroom after being sentenced Tuesday morning.
Nickolaus K. Garrison, 34, Hillsboro, made a break for the door after being sentenced and before being handcuffed and returned to the Highland County Justice Center for transport to the Corrections Reception Center in Orient, the sheriff’s office said.
Judge Rocky Coss, in the court’s judgement entry of confinement, sentenced Garrison to six months in prison on a fifth-degree felony charge of aggravated possession of methamphetamine, with 10 days credit for time already served.
However, the judgement entry also stated that since Garrison committed the criminal offense while under post-release control, he would have 530 more days of prison time added to the six months imposed Tuesday, bringing his total time behind bars to nearly two years.
Barrera said late Tuesday afternoon that Garrison was still at large.
A capias warrant was issued for his arrest and specifies that once he has been apprehended, he is to be immediately taken to Orient to begin serving his sentence.
Highland County Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton said that while Garrison was being patted down before being taken into custody, “he took off out of the doors.”
Stratton said that Reno was injured trying to apprehend the fleeing man, falling down the stairs that lead out of the courtroom.
“He was transported to Highland District where he was being treated,” Stratton said. “We believe at this time he’s going to be OK. Ben was doing everything he could, but the guy got a jump on him when they went to pat him down before he was placed back in cuffs.”
This was not the first time Garrison tried to make a getaway on foot, according to the court’s bill of particulars.
On Feb. 17, Hillsboro police were called to a business at 1342 N. High St. on a report of a male subject walking in and out of the business, appearing to be “not with it.”
When police confronted the man, later identified at Garrison, under a bridge just south of Diamond Drive, he attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended and ordered to the ground by officers.
A hypodermic needle and a clear baggie containing a while powder substance later determined to be methamphetamine were found on his person, with the bill adding that Garrison appeared to be under the influence of illegal narcotics.
Garrison entered a guilty plea to the charge of aggravated possession of methamphetamine on Aug. 6.
Anyone with information on Garrison’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Highland County Sheriff’s Office at 937-393-1421.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.