Police chase prisoner after court escape
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | September 14,2013
Police said they chased a prisoner around the city Friday afternoon after he escaped from the courthouse on Merchants Row.
Joshua Rheaume was leaving court following a hearing on a motion for pretrial home detention when he escaped from the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department deputies who were escorting him back to the jail, according to Sheriff Steve Benard.
Rheaume was recaptured a short time later.
“He got away from the guys at the sally port,” Benard said. “My understanding is he slipped a leg iron and chase ensued. ... He was caught up to on Pine Street, they lost him and caught up to him again on Evelyn Street.”
Benard said one of the officers giving chase, Lt. Craig Hanson, suffered bruises to his hands while struggling with Rheaume, but no one else was hurt. He said he was unsure what charges Rheaume would face due to the incident.
“We’ve got the whole weekend to figure that out,” Benard said. “I would assume he would be charged with escape.”
Sgt. Matthew Prouty of the Rutland City Police said that Rheaume tried to get into a number of cars as he fled, and that police wanted to hear from anyone he may have accosted during that effort.
“Possibly more charges could be coming from this,” Prouty said. “We don’t know if he made threats. We would like those people to come forward.”
Prouty said anyone who encountered Rheaume should call him at 773-1816.
Rheaume is already facing a domestic assault charge, two charges of operating vehicles without owner consent and a charge of possessing stolen goods.
When he was arrested in May, prosecutors said he had four previous felony convictions in Vermont, making him eligible to be charged as a habitual offender, which carries a potential lifetime jail sentence.
Benard said his department would conduct an internal investigation of the circumstances of the escape.
“Obviously, a situation like this will cause us to review our policies,” he said.