Misunderstanding contributes to Koehlhoeffer's escape - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Misunderstanding contributes to Koehlhoeffer's escape

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- After 19 hours of eluding law enforcement, stealing multiple cars, and taking part in a kidnapping, confusion remains as to who was responsible for an escaped inmate's custody.

Anthony Koehlhoeffer fled from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Tuesday night, then stole several cars and forced a woman to drive him to Davenport before being arrested in Scott County on Wednesday.

So how did Koehlhoeffer make it out of the hospital?

According to Jefferson County Attorney Tim Dille, Koehlhoeffer was transported by a Jefferson County deputy Tuesday night to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics under a court order.

''When we've taken someone up on a court order this is our normal procedure, this is how we've done it in the past,'' Dille said.

Dille provided KWWL with a form that shows a UIHC doctor signed for Koehlhoeffer at 9:27 Tuesday night.

''I have a piece of paper here signed by someone on the staff up there that says received by the above person into the custody of University Hospitals.  I guess, I don't know what else we could have done,'' Dille says.

Dille says the Jefferson County deputy left Koehlhoeffer at the hospital 45 minutes after the form was signed.

The confusion appears to lie in the meaning of that signed form.

Tom Moore, a spokesperson for the University of Iowa says the University of Iowa Hospitals is not a custodial facility.

Moore released the following statement which reads in part:

''A law enforcement agency cannot transfer custody of a prisoner to UI Hospitals and Clinics. A law enforcement agency may choose to release a person from custody in order to bring the person [to the University] to receive medical care, at which point in time they are not in custody, are not a prisoner, but are rather a patient receiving care.''

Moore's statement goes on to read:

''If a law enforcement agency chooses to maintain custody of a prisoner while that person receives care, that agency must assign one of its own staff to remain with that person throughout the course of their treatment.

The staff of UI Hospitals and Clinics empowered place anyone in custody. They are not armed. They are not trained to place a person in custody. Therefore, attempting to do so would be unsafe and inappropriate.''

Koehlhoeffer remains in a Davenport hospital where he was taken Wednesday night after crashing a stolen SUV while trying to run from police.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner



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