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Another inmate jumps, injures both his legs

Cary Ashby • Oct 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Another inmate has been hospitalized in connection with recently jumping from the upper stairs in a pod in the Huron County Jail.

Emery R. Slone, 29, of 4039 Weirs Road, Willard, was in custody on one count each of theft of drugs and tampering with evidence. The Huron County Drug Task Force arrested him and two other suspects in connection with an Oct. 15 buy-bust on Walton Avenue in Willard.

Two days later, about 2:30 p.m., Slone ran up the stairs from his cell, climbed up the handrail, grabbed the top of the fencing there and climbed through the small space, said Maj. Mike Cooksey, the jail administrator.

"It's kind of a pie shape up there," Cooksey added.

North Central EMS transported Slone to Fisher-Titus Medical Center. A LifeFlight helicopter then flew him to the University of Toledo Medical Center in Toledo.

Cooksey said the circumstances are virtually identical to those surrounding Daniel M. Legg, 23, of 20 Mill St. That jumping incident happened just after 9 p.m. Friday at evening lockdown when inmates are confined to their cells for the night.

Legg also was flown to the UT Medical Center after first going to Fisher-Titus.

"Mr. Legg is listed in good condition," said Aimee Falk, spokeswoman for UT Medical Center.

Cooksey said Thursday he had no updates on Legg, but he said he believes Slone was "waiting for surgery" at some point.

"I haven't had any updates (recently). There was talk about putting him in a nursing home," he said about Slone. "They were waiting for the swelling to go down as of (Oct. 19)."

No patient condition was available Thursday for Slone.

"He had injuries to both of his legs," Cooksey said.

Authorities suspected Slone had some fractures to his vertebrae, but Cooksey said those injuries didn't appear to be as bad as first expected.

"He was moving when he hit the ground, so he wasn't paralyzed or anything," the jail administrator added.

Slone didn't give any indications as to why he jumped. He fell between 16 to 17 feet.

"To put it lightly, (he said) he did something stupid," said Cooksey, citing a Facebook post that corrections officers discovered.

Slone was in G pod, designated as "administrative segregation." When asked to explain, Cooksey said the area is for "troubled inmates."

"He's been in here before. He was there for his own safety," Cooksey added.

Legg was serving a 100-day term for criminal damaging and assault. The convictions are for an Aug. 21 incident investigated by the Norwalk Police Department.

Authorities have decided Legg would be released from custody once he's released from the hospital, but must return to the jail to serve the remaining 34 days of his sentence.

Just before Legg jumped, corrections officers had moved onto another pod. The inmate fell about 24 feet.

"He apparently hadn't shut his door the whole away. He ran out, ran up the stairs and jumped," Cooksey said.

Legg had surgery on one of his feet Saturday.

"He's going to have to have multiple surgeries," Cooksey said earlier. "Apparently, he had just broken up with his girlfriend. We haven't found anything right now to say it was a suicide attempt. He was distraught over breaking up with his girlfriend."

Slone, like Legg, has been released on bond.

After consulting with Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel, Cooksey said it was decided to dismiss the two charges against Slone for now.

"We will recharge him later," Cooksey said.

Christophel confirmed what the jail administrator said, but added that Slone's charges were dropped due to his behavior in the jail.

This isn't the first time an inmate has jumped from the mezzanine level in the pods.

Former inmate Joshua M. Aumend sustained injuries to his lower extremities that didn't appear to be life-threatening after a mid-June 2008 incident. He jumped about 11:45 a.m. after corrections officers had done their hourly checks.

About 2 1/2 hours before he jumped, Aumend spoke to a mental health counselor for an undisclosed reason.

Soon after Sheriff Dane Howard took office in January 2009, Huron County commissioners used permanent improvement funds to have fencing installed in all the pods to prevent other prisoners from jumping.

"We're trying to find out why this has been done," Cooksey said Thursday. "If an inmate wants to hurt themselves, they're going to hurt themselves."

Corrections officers interview each inmate when they are being booked. Cooksey said if there's a "red flag" for certain questions, officers immediately notify their supervisor and a mental health counselor.

"Neither of them had red flags," he said about Slone and Legg.

The jail is in the middle of filling in the small spaces between the fencing on the mezzanine and the stairs in the pods.

Cooksey has been contacting 25 other jail administrators via a network email about the jumping situation.

"They're all experiencing the same thing. It's not just Huron County," he said.

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