FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — A four-hour search for a missing Newaygo County Jail inmate came to an end Tuesday after the man crashed a stolen motorcycle, authorities say.
Ian Riley-Jackson Davis, 32, escaped custody at around 9 a.m. after he was taken to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital in Fremont, reportedly for treatment of seizures.
He took off from the hospital, outrunning the deputy in charge of securing him and hospital security staff. Newaygo County’s emergency manager put out a public alert.
Authorities searched for about four hours before an officer spotted Davis around 1 p.m. headed north on S. Mechanic Avenue on a motorcycle. As the deputy turned around to stop him, Davis ran a stop sign at Main Street and crashed into the side of an oil tanker truck.
“Hit pretty hard,” Bob Busch, who was driving the tanker truck, said. “Boom!”
Witnesses said Davis was still trying to flee even after the crash.
“I just saw him try to get up and run but he couldn’t,” Dick Way, who witnessed the crash, told 24 Hour News 8. “Happened right in front of us. I couldn’t believe it.”
Police said Davis suffered serious injuries, but was conscious and alert when taken from the scene. He could be heard yelling out in pain as medics moved him onto a stretcher and into the ambulance.
The motorcycle was stolen from a home in the 100 block of W. Sheridan St. Owner Dan McFadden said it appears the suspect broke into his home to steal the keys to the motorcycle. He also took a pair of boots.
But Davis didn’t get far. He crashed the motorcycle after only about a block.
“I was really upset,” McFadden told 24 Hour News 8 as he looked on at his motorcycle at the scene of the crash. “They caught him. I just didn’t know I was going to help law enforcement in this manner.”
Officials said Davis had been jailed on multiple felony charges, including assaulting and obstructing a police officer. Police said he had escaped law enforcement officers before.
Newaygo County Sheriff Bob Mendham told 24 Hour News 8 that his department is conducting an internal investigation into what happened. He said more should have been done to secure Davis, who was not handcuffed when he escaped.
“The initial complaint was that he was having seizures and therefore it may be harmful to apply restraints,” Mendham said. “We have a lot of investigating to do yet before we can put this one away.”
Mendham said the incident will serve as a tough lesson for his officers.
“Lessons that we probably already know but we need to reinforce — is that we can’t trust anyone regardless of what we’re telling us at the time,” he said. “We have policies, procedures, protocols in place for a reason and those will be followed.”
Mendham said the deputy who was responsible for guarding Davis is an excellent officer. The sheriff declined to comment on whether the deputy would face disciplinary action, but owned responsibility for the incident.
“I’ll take the fall for this one,” Mendham said. “The important part is no one in the public was injured. None of the officers were injured. So that’s a successful ending.”