Sheriff: Madison County inmate took apart cell ceiling, attempted to escape

Michael Hernandez, 44, of Bridgepor, was charged with attempting to escape the Madison County Jail (Madison County Sheriff's Office)

A Madison County inmate is facing charges following an escape attempt Sunday afternoon in which he tried to crawl through his cell's ceiling.

According to Sheriff's Office officials, Michael A. Hernandez, 44, of Bridgeport, and an inmate at the Madison County Jail, tried to escape from the jail by creating a facsimile of himself on his bunk, then disassembling part of the ceiling of his cell and crawling through it.

Hernandez was apprehended by corrections officers before making it out, as his legs were dangling overhead, authorities said.

He was arrested by investigators and charged with attempted escape in the first degree after a felony arrest or conviction, and criminal tampering in the third degree.

Hernandez was arraigned Monday morning in Oneida City Court and remanded back to the jail on $10,000 cash/$20,000 bail bond. He will return to court at a later date to face these charges.

According to authorities, Hernandez had been initially arrested on Oct. 16 after an incident where he was being taken to a rehabilitation facility by a family member when he decided to leave the vehicle. When the family member tried to call 911, Hernandez came back to the vehicle, choked the family member and took the cell phone that was being used.

He then fled but was later apprehended by State Police and arraigned in the Town of Sullivan Court. He was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, criminal mischief in the fourth degree for preventing an emergency call and harassment in the second degree. He was then committed to the Madison County Jail on $300 cash bail.

During Hernandez's alleged escape attempt on Sunday, Madison County Acting Sheriff John Ball said at no time was the public in any danger and that the facility's escape siren never activated.

"Mr. Hernandez never made it out of the confines of the secure facility, but the evidence that was discovered clearly showed his intentions were not to stay in jail," Ball said. "The fact that our corrections officers were conducting their rounds and remaining vigilant, as they always do, ensured the safety of not only the facility, but the public as well."

The County’s Facilities Maintenance Department conducted a comprehensive inspection of the areas determined to be involved in the attempt to ensure no further damage was done to the facility, and to rule out any further breaches in the building.

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