Jailer injured in escape attempt


A Moffat County jailer was injured Monday in a scuffle with an inmate who allegedly was trying to escape.

Deputy John Kurz suffered scrat-ches to his hand that later be-came infected. He was escorting inmate Steve Tamlin from The Memorial Hospital when Tamlin attempted to escape, said Moffat County Sher-iff Buddy Grinstead.

Tamlin, 38, of Craig, was being treated at the hospital for suspected methamphetamine use when the all-eged escape occurred.

Kurz reached for Tamlin, who was restrained with chains on his ankles and his hands cuffed in front of him. The injuries occurred when Kurz tried to release himself from the deputy's grip, Grinstead said.

Moments earlier, Tamlin had run from the deputy and pulled the hospital's fire alarm "to draw attention away from himself," Grinstead said.

Kurz is being checked for infectious diseases, the sheriff said.

The Sheriff's Office has recommended second-degree assault charges in the case that was forwarded to the District Attorney's Office on Thursday.

Tamlin was arrested Sunday after Craig police officers were call-ed to a house in the 2000 block of West Third Street at about 7:45 p.m. for a man who appeared to be having a heart attack and displaying "bizarre" behavior.

However, Tamlin later said he was high on drugs and admitted to taking methamphetamine earlier in the day, according to a police report.

After being taken by ambulance to the hospital, Tamlin told police he might be under the influence of methamphetamine.

Tamlin had been trying to get help to quit using the drug, but he kept using them, his wife, Cheryl, told police, according to the report. She said she feared for her life and the life of her husband if he could not get into a drug rehabilitation program -- the only way to put a stop to his erratic behavior.

Tamlin was charged with unlawful use of a Schedule II controlled substance in the case. He since has been released from jail after posting a $10,000 bond.

Grinstead said the assault is less about deputy safety than about the effects of meth.

"It speaks more loudly to the meth problem," he said.

Grinstead said the jail staffers have come to expect an increase in violent behavior from inmates about three to four weeks after the inmates come down from using the drug.

"We see more inmate-to-inmate and inmate-to-detention-officers assaults at that time," Grinstead said. "It's not a manpower issue, we're concerned about the contagious diseases that are the side effects of meth."

Moffat County commissioners agreed recently to allow jail officials to hire an additional detention officer. It will allow for three full-time detention officer positions to work around the clock.

The added position won't be a "cure" to assaults at the jail, but the measure should help, Jail Admin-istrator Dean Herndon said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdaily-press.com.

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