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Renovo man flees courtroom to avoid state prison

Matthew Cole

LOCK HAVEN — Matthew Joseph Cole, 35, formerly of Renovo, was charged with escape, flight to avoid apprehension, and criminal mischief following an incident on July 26 at the Clinton County Courthouse.

Cole appeared before and was sentenced to one to 5 years in state prison by Judge Michael F. Salisbury on prior theft charges. As a sheriff’s deputy transported Cole to the courthouse holding cell, Cole attempted his escape.

After Cole’s sentence had been imposed by the court, the judge allowed him to speak on his own behalf. Cole grew increasingly agitated as he spoke at which time Salisbury informed Cole that he was going to have to end his conversation and go with the deputies. Cole began to walk toward the exit door, still talking, when he took off running. Deputies gave chase, down the courthouse stairs to the floor below where Cole was apprehended.

Cole refused to obey verbal commands repeated by deputies and had to be physically restrained by several deputies. Deputies were required to deploy several Taser charges before Cole was eventually subdued. Cole is now facing the following charges: escape, a felony of the third degree; Flight to Avoid Apprehension, a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree and Criminal Mischief, a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree.

He faces a maximum of an additional 11 years in state prison if convicted.

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