Suspect Flees Florida Hospital, Forces Review of Security

Published: February 20, 2008

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Police are reevaluating security procedures when dealing with a prisoner being treated at a hospital after a 23-year-old suspect escaped from Baptist Medical Center Nassau on Feb. 15.

The detainee, John Kevin Davis Jr., who had been arrested on Feb. 14 for possession on marijuana and cocaine with the intention to sell, had been admitted into the hospital for a cocaine overdose. Davis was foaming at the mouth and his blood pressure had dropped to 65 over 45, according to Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves.

Around 8:15, Davis escaped from the hospital after assaulting the deputy officer assigned to transfer him back to the correctional facility. Seagraves said the officer was trying to help Davis, who was pretending to be incoherent and disabled, change from his hospital gown to his jail jumpsuit. To do this, the officer had to remove the suspect’s handcuffs, which led to the officer being overpowered. Davis then ran into the parking lot where he demanded a driver be his get-a-way driver. When the driver refused, Davis ran into the nearby woods on foot. Upon his escape, Davis also damaged the hospital’s emergency room door.

After a six-hour manhunt with two canine units and a helicopter, Davis was back in police custody by 3 p.m. Police found him in the trunk of a vehicle at a traffic stop with an unidentified woman. During the search, two schools were placed on lockdown.

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Director of public relations for the Baptist Health System Cindy Hamilton said that hospital employs security personnel; however, they are not armed. Seagraves added that the Sheriff’s office plans to review their policy of only allowing one officer to be present during a transfer of custody from a hospital to the correctional facility.

Davis, who now faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, escape, robbery, burglary, carjacking, third degree larceny, petty theft, false imprisonment and felony battery during a warrantless arrest, was said to be in good health. His bail has been set to $10,000.

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