BREAKING
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Forsyth County at 53, top 5,400 statewide
The latest on the novel coronavirus in Forsyth County and Georgia
Full Story
By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Man attempts to escape Cumming police through air ducts at hospital
Ernest Sparks
Sparks

CUMMING — A Cumming police detainee may have watched one too many action movies before trying to escape custody by crawling through the air ducts at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

Before being booked Sept. 30 at the Forsyth County Jail on unrelated charges, 23-year-old Ernest Jay Sparks was taken to the Cumming hospital for medical treatment due to self-reported anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

According to police reports, he showed no outward signs of anxiety.

Sparks ended up being charged with escape prior to conviction and second-degree criminal damage.

As of Thursday, he remained in jail. His bond has been set at $32,505 bond.

The escape attempt, which involved crawling about 60 feet in the ceiling space, was eventful. According to police reports, it resulted in more than $500 of damage to ceiling tiles, the frame/support of the drop ceiling, a toilet seat cover dispenser and air ducts.

In addition, there are possibly unknown, concealed damages inside the space.

The escape attempt began, according to police reports, when Sparks asked to use the restroom at the hospital.

After a few minutes, the officer who was waiting outside the door grew suspicious and alerted hospital staff to unlock the door. They discovered that Sparks had vanished.

According to the report, “With no other doors to escape from, [authorities] concluded that he had climbed into the ceiling space, even though the ceiling tiles were placed back and showed no signs of damage.”

As additional officers and medical staff searched for Sparks, a Northside employee found him in a different bathroom.

Sparks was reportedly attempting to climb back into the ceiling when officers found him and grabbed his leg to pull him down.

The doctor who had been examining Sparks said he should be placed on suicide watch at the jail, but was otherwise cleared for discharge. He reportedly appeared “psychologically stable and showed no signs of acute mental disorder.”

According to the report, Sparks told the doctor “he does not like jail and did not want to go back.”