A man killed Monday in a Missouri crash that also took the life of a woman had been in Nebraska State Patrol custody for several hours last weekend. Why was he allowed to go free and could the deaths have been prevented?
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, troopers were involved in a short chase Friday in Omaha. The chase began at 8:17 p.m. near I-80 and Highway 50 and ended at 8:23 p.m. near 168th and Briar when the stolen car became disabled. Troopers said the driver was 27-year-old Randy Hartline of Council Bluffs.
Once in custody, Harltline told troopers he felt ill. He was taken to Lakeside Hospital for an examination. The State Patrol said he was released to the hospital for emergency medical treatment. The State Patrol told Channel 6 News that's not uncommon.
Hartline was medically cleared and released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon. The State Patrol said Lakeside Hospital notified them, but before a trooper arrived at the hospital to take Hartline back into custody, he disappeared. Alegent Health said it followed policies and procedures, but wouldn't elaborate.
On Monday, Hartline was killed in a crash on Highway 92 near Tracy, Missouri. According to the Missouri State Patrol, the crash also killed 54-year-old Antwinette Holtsclaw of Platte County, Missouri.
The Missouri State Patrol said Hartline stole the vehicle he was driving from Council Bluffs and headed to St. Joseph. The patrol said Hartline stole four more vehicles and committed a burglary before troopers began the chase in Platte County. Hartline was trying to pass another vehicle, over-corrected and slammed into Holtsclaw's car.
“In my eyes, Antwinette probably saved someone else’s life because he was being reckless,” said Shawna Sharp. "It's one of those unbelievable things you hear about on the news, now there's a name to go along with that victim, a face and a good heart."
Channel 6 News went to Nebraska State Patrol headquarters in Lincoln Thursday to try to get some questions answered. What time was Hartline released from the hospital and what time did a trooper arrive to arrest him? What was the lapse there? If a suspect is wanted and chased on Friday, why wasn't a trooper at the hospital Saturday to arrest him?
The patrol released a statement saying "we believe our officers acted in good faith Friday night in making the arrest and then releasing the subject from custody for medical treatment...Unfortunately there was no way of knowing the future choices Mr. Hartline would make. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragic events in Missouri."
The State Patrol, just like the hospital, said it too followed procedures in this case. Although the State Patrol hasn't released those procedures, Channel 6 News did check with another law enforcement agency, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, on their protocol.
It said depending on the suspect's history and what they are wanted for, either a deputy would be placed at the hospital for 24-hour monitoring or the suspect would be placed on hospital hold. That means the hospital would notify them when the suspect is being released with an hour or two prior notice. Usually, the hospital security staff would be involved with monitoring that situation.