Loudon County officers to be punished for escapes

By J.J. Stambaugh knoxnews.com

Four Loudon County Sheriff's Office employees will be disciplined in connection with a series of escapes, but the exact nature of their punishment hasn't been decided, according to Sheriff Tim Guider.

The escapes happened over a 10-hour period Sunday, when 18-year-old Joshua O'Brien Hayworth of Loudon slipped away from officers during a short car chase and then escaped twice in separate incidents, once at the jail and again at a local hospital.

He was captured each time and faces charges of escape, felony theft, felony fleeing and vandalism.

Guider initially said the officers involved would each receive three-day suspensions without pay, but on Thursday indicated that he was reconsidering the punishments.

"We've been kind of analyzing this thing a little bit, and there might be some adjustments to one or two, but all will be disciplined," he said. "We'll be having a staff meeting next week."

Guider characterized Hayworth's escapes as difficult to thwart. "He was like Houdini," he said. "He was there one minute, gone the next."

Guider identified the officers who will be disciplined as Cpl. Daniel Ferguson, a corrections officer in the jail; Robbie Lane, also a corrections officer; Deputy Chris Jenkins, a patrol officer; and Deputy Charles Butler, also a patrol officer.