GREENFIELD — An inmate at the Hancock County Jail tried to run from the facility as officers brought supplies into the building through an open back door, officials said.
Joseph Cragen, 24, of 4490 Ennis Road, Martinsville, who had been booked into the facility last week on a charge of robbery, now faces a charge of escape in a newly filed criminal case, according to court records.
The door Cragen tried to run through leads into a garage rather than onto the street outside the facility, officials said. The overhead garage door that keeps that portion of the building secure was closed and properly locked at the time, preventing Cragen from escaping the facility, officials said.
The incident occurred Friday evening.
Around 8 p.m., Cragen told jail staff he was experiencing discomfort caused by drug withdrawal and asked to speak with the nurse, said Hancock County Sheriff’s Capt. Andy Craig, the jail commander.
An officer brought him to the nurse’s office, which is located in a hallway on the southwest side of the jail between the inmate book-in desk and the garage. He sat there for a minute waiting for help.
Cragen was no more than 10 feet from an armed guard at any point during his time in the nurse’s station, Craig said. One jail officer was manning the book-in desk while another officer was working to bring boxes of commissary items from the garage into the facility, court documents state.
That’s when Cragen saw an opportunity and made a break for it, Craig said.
Cragen pushed past the officer and ran through a doorway and into the garage, court documents state.
The officer tried to stop Cragen by grabbing onto his shirt, but he continued to run forward, dragging the officer along behind him briefly until before he broke free, court documents state.
Once in the garage, Cragen ran toward the overhead door that leads outside and tried unsuccessfully to open it, court documents state.
The officer and another who came to assist pointed their Tasers at Cragen and ordered him to lie on the ground. He complied, and the officers handcuffed him and brought him back into the jail, court documents state.
Now officers will take extra security precautions whenever Cragen is removed from his cellblock, Craig said. Multiple officers will escort the man through the facility, and he’ll be handcuffed at the wrists and shackled at the ankles any time he’s transported to the Hancock County Courthouse for hearings, he said.
In addition to the new criminal case filed against him, Cragen will likely face punishment within the jail, Craig said. That could include bring placed in lock-down for several days or having commissary restrictions, Craig said.
Cragen was brought to the Hancock County Jail on June 28 after he stole money from a McCordsville gas station, according to court documents.
Cragen snatched money out of a gas station cashier’s hand as another customer was trying to pay for a purchase, court documents state. While the cashier tried to pull the money back from him, Cragen reached into her open cash register and grabbed a handful of bills before running out the door, court documents state.
Cragen made off with about $100 in cash, officials said.
Police caught up with him a few minutes after the incident, and he admitted to stealing the money, saying he needed cash to feed his drug addiction, court documents state.
Prosecutor charged Cragen with a Level 3 felony count of robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison. He had pleaded not guilty in the case, which is pending in Hancock County Superior Court 1.
Now, Cragen also faces a Level 5 felony count of attempted escape from lawful detention, records show. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison.