WOODSTOCK – One minute he’s pleading not guilty to armed violence and burglary charges, the next a McHenry County Jail inmate is running out of a McHenry County courtroom in an escape attempt foiled by courthouse security officers.
Dylan E. Draut of Fox River Grove appeared Monday in McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather’s courtroom, where he was arraigned on charges of armed violence and burglary. Early into the morning’s court call, Draut pleaded not guilty to the charges, but before he was to be brought back to custody, he sprinted from the room. He was wearing orange jail scrubs and flip-flops.
The 39-year-old would-be absconder flew past dumbfounded attorneys and courtroom spectators with quick-moving security officers in close pursuit. Draut’s mother also followed closely behind, yelling for her son to stop.
He ran down two flights of stairs before jumping over a railing from the stairway landing to the lobby, where he was tackled by courthouse officer Louis J. Schoen. There were no injuries.
“There’s no point in taking off like that. This place is so guarded, every door is guarded by four or five officers,” Schoen said after the incident.
Schoen is a former McHenry County Sheriff’s Office deputy and detective who started working part time at the courthouse after retirement.
“These are all retired cops; they ain’t rookies,” he said, referring to the security officers who helped nab Draut.
Prisoners who attend court in McHenry County courtrooms typically are escorted by jail guards through secure hallways and elevators directly into courtrooms.
“We have policies and procedures in place for incidents like this,” McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. “We caught the guy before he got out of the building, and luckily nobody got hurt.”
Draut’s attorney, Public Defender Rick Behof, had not spoken to his client immediately after the incident but said a psychological evaluation would be ordered to ensure there wouldn’t be any more incidents.
Draut likely will face additional escape charges; however, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond for this article.
According to the criminal complaint, Draut, armed with crowbars, broke into the Crystal Lake Rib House at 5111 Terra Cotta Ave. on June 9. He was on parole at the time for burglary charges out of Cook County.
Draut also was charged with two counts of aggravated battery in a public place for allegedly striking two men with the crowbar at the Rib House, and possession of burglary tools. Court documents indicate he resisted arrest and swung a crowbar at a Crystal Lake police officer.
His most serious charge is a Class 2 felony, punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison.
Draut was sentenced to three years in prison for a McHenry County burglary in 2009. Attempts to escape from courtrooms are rare but not unheard of. Attorneys and other courthouse employees cited an incident in the early 2000s when now-convicted murderer Christopher Swan tried to flee the courtroom but was tackled by then assistant state’s attorney Daniel Regna.