Summit County Sheriff John Minor on Wednesday recognized three deputies for their efforts to save the life of an inmate during an October incident at the Summit County Detention Facility.
During the early morning hours of Oct. 20, Sgt. Ron Hochmuth was working the booking desk at the jail, while field-training officer Elizabeth Lillie was training deputy Jake Straw in the detention facility’s master control room.
During the training session, Straw noticed an inmate tying a shirtsleeve around his neck on one of the booking cell cameras. Straw immediately notified Lillie, who in turn called Hochmuth at the booking desk. It took approximately 12 seconds for Straw and Lillie to notify Hochmuth of the situation, according to a Summit County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Hochmuth went directly to the holding cell, and when the inmate did not follow instructions to remove the shirt from his neck, Hochmuth entered the cell and physically removed the shirt himself.
Although he never lost consciousness, the inmate’s lips were already beginning to turn blue from lack of oxygen, the release stated.
The inmate was subsequently issued a suicide smock to prevent him from attempting to harm himself further. Deputies also notified mental health professionals, so that the inmate could be evaluated.
“Your attention to duty, and in maintaining close observation even when there were no prior indicators or cause for concern, undoubtedly saved this person’s life,” Minor said during an awards ceremony at the sheriff’s office. “Your collective efforts are a credit to you individually, as well as to the entire Summit County Sheriff’s Office. This was truly a job well done, and you should take pride in knowing you have given this individual a second chance.”