After running handcuffed from a courtroom and jumping off a second-story balcony, a Utah County jail inmate is recovering from a head injury, police said Thursday.
The 35-year-old inmate — one of several who had been transported to the Spanish Fork courthouse — was sitting in a second-story courtroom during a hearing for a misdemeanor charge Monday morning, Spanish Fork police Lt. Matt Johnson said Thursday.
Surveillance video from the court shows the inmate stand up at 9:24 a.m., and, with a waist chain wrapped around him and handcuffs on is wrists, he runs toward the back of the courtroom and out the door used by the public. The man’s legs were unrestrained, Johnson said.
Surveillance footage from the hallway shows the man exit the courtroom and continue straight into the railing of a balcony which stands about three-feet high and is about 15 to 20 feet from the door, according to Johnson. The man flips over the balcony and falls onto the lower level of the courthouse.
“It almost looks like he purposely dove right over the railing,” Johnson said.
The inmate suffered a head injury as well as a possible leg injury, but neither appeared life-threatening, police said. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
No one else was hurt, Johnson said, but the courthouse closed briefly — for 10 to 15 minutes — while medical personnel treated the inmate’s injuries.
The inmate‘s criminal history in the state dates back to 2002 with the majority of charges being drug- and theft-related. He is currently being held without bail for drug- and theft-related charges.
Monday’s episode was the first of its kind at the Spanish Fork courthouse, Johnson said. But because of it, officials plan to re-evaluate where officers and deputies are positioned around the courtroom.
The inmates in court Monday were there for misdemeanor offenses and were not wearing leg shackles, Johnson said, but in the future, all inmates transported to the courthouse will be required to wear leg restraints.