Law enforcement officers are searching for one of two inmates who escaped from the Ottawa County Jail Thursday morning.
A hospital security guard tracked down one of the inmates, who is now in custody.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said 38-year-old Jerry Nichols and 25-year-old Justin Eby escaped early Thursday. Deputies are investigating whether one or more of the inmates were faking a medical emergency and looking into the possibility a lock on one of the doors at the jail malfunctioned.
Integris Hospital Public Safety Officer Felipe Alaniz spotted inmate Justin Eby about two hours after he escaped and was able to arrest him.
"I caught him trying to get in the back of somebody's home and that's where I took him down at gunpoint,” Officer Alaniz said.
Alaniz said the hospital was on lockdown because the pair escaped. He and a maintenance worker hopped in a car after recognizing Eby. The officer said instinct took over from there.
“He didn't try to fight me. I think I kind of surprised him. He didn't realize I'd be, you know, right on his tail,” he said.
DOC records show Eby has served time in prison on several convictions for drugs and burglaries. Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said Eby was most recently in the Ottawa County Jail, charged with shooting at police.
"When the officers attempted to make contact with him several months ago, they got into a pursuit with him and then he got out and fired on the officers,” Sheriff Floyd said.
Eby is now back in the Ottawa County Jail, sitting in a lockdown cell this time.
"He got bumped up pretty far on the list to be put in one of those lockdown cells so we'll definitely utilize that and hopefully we won’t have anymore issues with him,” Floyd said.
Floyd said Nichols was in jail on a hold for Missouri involving eluding and a probation violation. Thursday's search prompted Miami Public Schools to shift to distance learning. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College said it decided to cancel classes for the day.