Escaped felon captured at Clinton County motel

Injured deputy recovering at home

By Jeff Gilliland - [email protected]



A Hillsboro man who escaped from officers after being sentenced to prison Tuesday in the Highland County Common Pleas Courtroom was captured early Friday morning.

Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera said Nickolaus Garrison, 34, was taken into custody at 4:30 a.m. without incident at a motel in Clinton County.

Barrera said Garrison will now face additional charges of assault on a police officer and escape. “Right now that’s what I know to this extent. Everything else will be up to the prosecutor,” the sheriff said.

He said that due to an order from the Judge Rocky Coss, Garrison was to be transported immediately to the Corrections Reception Center in Orient.

Garrison was found in a motel room after the sheriff’s office received tips about his whereabouts, Barrera said. He said the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Highland County Prosecutor’s Task Force, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and Wilmington Police Department assisted in the arrest.

On Thursday, Coss released video of Garrison’s escape from the courtroom. Barrera said the video was instrumental in helping to locate Garrison.

“Yes, I think it did help in a round about way,” Barerra said. “People didn’t like seeing the deputy get injured and they were really vigilant looking for the suspect. We got a lot of calls and fortunately one of them led us to him.”

The video showed Garrison breaking away from officers as they attempted to handcuff him at the back of the courtroom. He dashed for a door leading to a stairway at the front of the courtroom with three officers in pursuit. As Garrison rounded a banister at the top of the steps and headed down them, deputy Ben Reno leapt over the banister in an attempt to grab Reno. He barely missed, hit his head on a wall on the other side of the steps, then slid limply down the steps on his back, coming to rest on a landing where the steps take a turn.

In the video, Reno appears to move some once he reached the bottom of the steps, but Barrera said officers on the scene said Reno appeared to be unconscious for a time.

“Ben doesn’t really remember. He said he thought he was still chasing the subject when he was actually laying on the ground,” Barrera said.

The sheriff said Reno was recovering at home after suffering four broken ribs and a concussion.

During his court appearance Tuesday, Coss sentenced Garrison to six months in prison on a fifth-degree felony charge of aggravated possession of methamphetamine, with 10 days credit for time already served.

However, the judgment entry also stated that since Garrison committed the criminal offense while under post-release control, he would have 530 more days of prison time added to the six months imposed Tuesday.

Highland County Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton said that while Garrison was being patted down before being taken into custody, “he took off out of the doors.”

It was not the first time Garrison tried to make a getaway on foot, according to the court’s bill of particulars in the case.

On Feb. 17, Hillsboro police were called to a business at 1342 N. High St. on a report of a male walking in and out of the business, appearing to be “not with it.”

When police confronted the man, later identified at Garrison, under a bridge just south of Diamond Drive, he attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended and ordered to the ground by officers.

A hypodermic needle and a clear baggie containing a white powder substance, later determined to be methamphetamine, were found on his person, with the bill adding that Garrison appeared to be under the influence of illegal narcotics.

Garrison entered a guilty plea to the charge of aggravated possession of methamphetamine on Aug. 6.

He was in court Tuesday to be sentenced on the charge.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Injured deputy recovering at home

By Jeff Gilliland

[email protected]