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How an inmate escaped Ingham County Jail in November 2020

February 18, 2021
<p>Michael McKerchie, who escaped Ingham County Jail on Nov. 13, 2020 and was caught a week later on Nov. 21. Photo provided by Ingham County.</p>

Michael McKerchie, who escaped Ingham County Jail on Nov. 13, 2020 and was caught a week later on Nov. 21. Photo provided by Ingham County.

The internal investigation regarding how Michael McKerchie escaped from Ingham County Jail has been completed as of Wednesday.

On Nov. 13, 2020, he escaped. He was caught a week later on Nov. 21, 2020. McKerchie dismantled a mattress and used the padding to look like a sleeping body. He escaped through a window.

He was jailed for Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA) at Dunkin' Donuts in Okemos, Michigan. McKerchie was also charged for reckless driving causing serious impairment, failure to stop at the scene of an accident and restricting and obstructing arrest.

At the time of the escape, the jail was experiencing high levels of infection from the pandemic. Some policies were modified accordingly.

"To reduce opportunities for exposure and spread, one of the practices suspended was daily, physical interior cell inspections by staff," Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said in a county-wide alert. "Unfortunately, this temporary change in practice was taken advantage of by an inmate, and he was able to escape."

The investigation found that over several days, McKerchie used accessible resources in his cell, broke out a window and fled.

"There is no reason to believe, or evidence to support that the escapee was aided by staff, nor was he knowingly assisted by other inmates," Wriggelsworth said.

Modified suspended policies were reinstituted and one Ingham County Sheriff's Office deputy was formally disciplined for unsatisfactory cell checks after the escape.

McKerchie awaits trial on his original charges, as well as the escape and subsequent criminal charges for his behavior while in custody.

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