WADSWORTH, Ohio- Municipal court officials are reviewing what happened on Wednesday when a man who had just been sentenced to spend 60 days in jail, fled the courthouse causing a head on crash that injured three members of another family.
Municipal Judge Stephen McIlvaine told FOX 8 News he sentenced Cyrus Mathews of Cleveland to 60 days in jail after Mathews pleaded guilty to charges of criminal damaging and reckless operation.
The sentence was ordered to begin immediately but McIlvaine said Mathews wanted to try and postpone it so he could attend another unrelated custody hearing.
The request was denied, although McIlvaine said he was willing to consider a furlough so that Mathews could attend his other hearing.
"He seemed fine," said McIlvaine.
"He looked at his girlfriend, then he just started walking. I said, 'you are going to have to go with the bailiff;' my bailiff was heading towards him," added the judge.
Instead, Mathews turned and left the courtroom with bailiff, Sharon Ray, close behind.
"I tried explaining to the young man as he was leaving, the difference between jail and prison because if you don't get back in there you are going to find out," said Ray.
Courthouse surveillance video shows him pausing briefly during an exchange with Ray.
" He stopped for a minute but then his girlfriend came out of the courtroom and they took off," she added.
"I followed them out to the parking lot and said to the young lady, 'if you care about him at all you will have him go back into the courtroom and apologize to the judge,' and he took off out of the parking lot," said Ray.
Judge McIlvaine says in 21 years on the bench in municipal court, he has never had a case like this.
Ray says the judge has made a decision not to use force to try and stop someone facing misdemeanor charges and until now they have not had a problem and they didn't anticipate one from Mathews.
"In the past, when we have had sentencings, if we have any indication there could be violence or a problem we have a police officer come over. We have done that numerous times where a police officer would just be in the courtroom." said McIlvaine.
"My probation officer said he didn't see this person being violent; there's no indication of him being violent in the court. He seemed to be accepting; when he met with him he understood what was going on. In fact, in the courtroom, he was not violent and he didn't run; he didn't fight. He just panicked and walked out of the courtroom and left the building," said the judge.
Police were called after Mathews left and dash camera video shows the crash happened before an officer who started the pursuit could catch up with him.
"By the time the officer was able to even see which direction the suspect went he was so far ahead of him we don't even think he observed the officer behind him with the lights on," said Wadsworth Police Lieutenant Dave Dorland.
Police say the family members in the vehicle that Matthews hit were taken to a local hospital and will be okay.
Mathews and his girlfriend were also injured.
He is expected to now face more serious felony charges and the possibility of prison time.
"Will it result in some internal policy changes, quite possibly? You know, the cost of having somebody here with a gun 24/7 or even a police officer is so exorbitant, it just doesn't seem practical for a municipal court," Ray said.
"The police department is right next door, so we could have somebody come over for sentencings that we think are concerning. We just were not concerned about this particular young man."