Fugitive still on the run after two escape Ottawa County Jail

Jerry Nichols still on the loose, considered armed and dangerous

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. – Officers, K-9, and SWAT teams combed through Miami searching for inmates who escaped the jail.

“A little after 6 this morning, we had two that were faking a medical type emergency. During that whole transition, they actually got out. Overpowered the deputy and got out of the jail,” says Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.

He also says they’re looking into whether or not a door at the jail malfunctioned.

They were 23-year-old Justin Eby and 38-year-old Jerry Nichols. Officers immediately started searching, and Miami students were told to stay home for remote learning.

“There’s really that time, that window of time we found ourselves in when the transportation happens. And we’re very susceptible during that time. And the last thing we wanted was a fugitive getting on a bus or getting a car from a family and causing harm,” Miami Superintendent Jeremy Hogan explains.

A real concern, since both were considered armed and dangerous.

“Eby’s got a long history of different charges, including the one he’s actually in jail for right now. Which was assault with intent to kill on a police officer,” says Floyd. “He was more of our concern because of his behavior, his patterns from what we noticed in jail. And with his history as well. So, the other one, he’s not actually a local. He’s from Missouri, and he was here just on a felony looting and some probation violation holds out of Missouri.”

A few hours after their escape, Eby was captured by Integris Hospital Security Guard Felipe Alaniz, who is also a reserve officer with the Grove Police Department.

“I chased one that jumped over a fence, and then jumped over another fence. So I chased him on down through the alley, and I caught him going into the back of a residence. Where I ordered him at gunpoint to surrender,” says Alaniz. “It was actually my first instinct to pursue the suspect. So, before I realized it I was already trying to take him into custody.”

But Nichols is still on the loose.

Around 75 officers from around Oklahoma, as well as from Missouri and Kansas, spent hours combing a five-block area west of the hospital. The Grand River Dam Authority also searched the Neosho River.

Most outside agencies left late this afternoon, but local departments are still searching for the fugitive.

“We’ve still got a lot of greenery. There’s a lot of brush in this area. Some growth. The river always posses another issue as well. And a lot of old run-down buildings and sheds,” says Floyd. “But we’ll continue to search until we can locate him.”

Eby is currently being held at the Ottawa County Jail.

Authorities encourage residents to call 911 if they see Nichols or have any information on his whereabouts.