Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Inmate recaptured after escaping Poughkeepsie hospital

A convicted cop killer, being treated at a Poughkeepsie hospital after complaining of a heart ailment, attacked two state Correction Officers and led pursuers on a 10-minute foot chase this morning before being recaptured following a struggle about 150 yards from Vassar Brothers Hospital.

Inmate Colin Hyde, serving 43½ years-to-life for the 1994 murder of a state trooper in Otsego County, fled Vassar moments after he learned he was about to be discharged back to the maximum-security Green Haven Correctional Facility in nearby Stormville.

"While we must provide inmates with medical care that meets community standards, incidents such as this demonstrate the professionalism and vigilance our Correction Officers must show every day, making 122,000 inmate medical escorts each year to outside hospitals," said Commissioner Glenn S. Goord. He noted that the last inmate escape from an outside hospital was an Attica inmate recaptured a few hours after he fled from a Batavia hospital in 1998.

Commissioner Goord noted inmates may feign medical needs in order to be removed from high-security prisons to outside hospitals in hopes of escape. "That's why we constructed five maximum-security regional medical units (RMUs) that have reduced inmate outside hospital days by 58 percent, from 37,600 days in 1995 to 15,806 last year." The RMUs are located on the grounds of the Oneida, Bedford Hills, Coxsackie, Wende and Fishkill prisons.

Hyde, 31, was cleared for discharge early today from Vassar after being treated there since December 26 for a heart problem. At about 10 a.m., two Correction Officers were in a third-floor room guarding Hyde when he turned and pushed a female Officer into the male Officer. He ran out of the room, slammed the door behind him, raced down two flights of stairs to the front lobby and out of the hospital.

As the female Officer called the Poughkeepsie Police Department from Hyde's room and contacted Green Haven staff, the armed male Officer gave pursuit. Individuals in the lobby pointed out the direction in which the inmate had fled. Once outside the hospital and in the front parking lot, the male Officer commandeered the vehicle of an off-duty security guard who had come to the hospital for a visit. As the male Officer drove in the direction that the inmate was reported to be headed, the off-duty security guard and a male registered nurse pursued Hyde on foot.

The Officer came upon the inmate a short distance from the hospital, near a wooded area. The Officer exited the commandeered vehicle and tackled Hyde after the inmate stumbled and fell. The registered nurse and off-duty security guard then arrived at the scene, with the latter giving the Officer his handcuffs to subdue the inmate. The two men also assisted the Officer in restraining the struggling inmate.

The inmate was transported to the disciplinary housing unit at the maximum-security Sullivan Correctional Facility in Woodbourne. Hyde now faces Departmental and criminal charges. Departmental charges could lead to a lengthy stay in 23-hour-a-day lockdown in a disciplinary housing unit. The maximum criminal penalty for escape is up to an additional seven years in prison.

The only injury sustained was to the female Officer, who suffered a strained shoulder but remained on duty.

Hyde is serving a minimum term of 43½ years for killing a state trooper with a sawed-off shotgun during the commission of a 1994 armed robbery in Otsego County. He was convicted of five crimes in connection with that incident: two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree criminal use of a firearm.

Hyde was subsequently convicted of first-degree assault in Clinton County Court following a 1998 incident at the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, during which he stabbed another inmate with a seven-inch shank while the two were in the outdoor recreation yard. He received a determinate sentence of seven years for that conviction, which will run consecutively with his initial term.

Hyde was received into the state prison system on August 18, 1995. He has been housed since August 1, 2002, at the 2,096-bed maximum-security Green Haven prison in Dutchess County.

He is currently eligible for parole on November 21, 2037.