TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — We're learning more about what led to a convicted meth dealer loose in Tippecanoe County.
As News 18 told you exclusively on Friday, Lafayette police are looking for Travis Nichols after he was medically released to an Indianapolis Hospital last month.
We're still getting answers as to how this happened.
Another stroke, another hour Travis Nichols is on the loose.
Nichols didn't even show up to his own jury trial. Benjamin Grieser doesn't understand why anyone would think a convicted meth dealer would obey a court order to stay in the hospital without security.
"I think that's very frightening," said Grieser. "It's an inmate, what do you think? If he has a chance to escape he might take it."
Ultimately, it was Tippecanoe Superior Judge Randy Williams' decision to medically release Nichols on his own recognizance. But according to court documents, the prosecutor's office did not object. Last week, Harrington said his office doesn't typically endorse the medical release of felons.
"As I said Friday, ethically I can't speak about the facts of this case and generally speaking that's our policy, I have been able to retrieve the file mark time stamps of the pleadings so you can get a more, you can see as in real time things transpired back on Dec. 12," said Harrington.
Email and court time stamps show prosecutors were told Nichols was already medically released, intubated, and being airlifted to Indianapolis at the time. Harrington says objecting wouldn't have changed this situation since it was already underway.
"That's a really big loophole I guess in our system, I don't really know too much about it," said Grieser.
It's expensive to secure an inmate but Grieser says that shouldn't matter, "It's definitely worth the money I mean what if this guy goes out and does another crime and somebody gets murdered unfortunately and no amount of tax money can make up for that."
We are still waiting to hear back from St. Vincent officials on this issue.
News 18 is looking into whether the hospital could face repercussions for not following the court order.
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