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Judge questions need for additional security after two courtroom escapes

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WADSWORTH, Ohio- A Medina County judge is working to solve a bizarre problem after two men temporarily evaded justice after being sentenced.

For the second time in six months, a man sentenced at Wadsworth Municipal Court made a run for it, taking off out of the courtroom and escaping outside.

"He made a right turn and went towards the lobby," said Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge Stephen McIlvaine, on the bench for 21 years. "We're a smaller court so he was out before you knew it; he was gone. It was kind of a shock."

In November, FOX 8 reported how a 19-year-old Cleveland man was seen on camera running out of court and into a car with his girlfriend. He was being sentenced for a non-violent crime. A chase a short time later ended with the defendant crashing at a gas station.

"I saw this guy peeling out in his car and I thought, boy, he's going plenty fast and then of course I had not idea who it was until later in the day," said witness Matt Kelly.

Just last Monday, Judge Stephen McIlvaine says another man also escaped sentencing. Now he is working to analyze the dollars and cents of having an officer in the courtroom during sentencing from now on.

"During sentencing we normally do not have a police officer here," explained Judge McIlvaine. "On occasion we've had them but it's not the job of the Wadsworth Police Department to give us security."

Additional eyes to spot odd behavior, with the hope no one else tries to escape their punishment.

"If there was a couple more officers there, you got some guys who mean business that are there, you can control these guys," said Kelly. "Sometimes goofy young males do stupid things and I'm sure that guy did a foolish thing that he regrets doing now, but sometimes you just need a little bit of extra muscle."

A specific time frame to implement the changes, if deemed necessary, have not been decided. A call placed to Wadsworth police on the issue was not returned.

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