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Bus hijacking suspect tried to escape hospital and jail, officials say

The Fort Jackson trainee will face additional charges.
Jovan Collazo faces numerous charges including 19 counts of kidnapping.
Jovan Collazo faces numerous charges including 19 counts of kidnapping.(RCSD)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The man accused of hijacking a Richland Two school bus loaded with elementary school children tried to escape twice, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Officials say 23-year-old Jovan Collazo attempted to escape from a guard at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on May 5.

Jail officials said Collazo was on suicide watch at the time and was in a secure housing unit meant to seclude him from other inmates.

When the guard went to check on him, Collazo could not be seen through the cell door, an incident report states. The guard opened a food tray door and that’s when Collazo punched the guard in the face, deputies said.

The guard suffered minor injuries.

At some point during this encounter, Collazo broke his ankle, as well. His attorney addressed that in a statement which can be read at the end of this story.

Collazo’s attorney disputes deputies calling what happened an “escape attempt.”

Deputies also said Collazo tried to escape from an area hospital.

Collazo was a soldier in training on Fort Jackson when deputies say he hijacked a Forest Lake Elementary school bus with a M4 rifle. Officials say the M4 rifle was not loaded, but no one on the bus knew that at the time.

He was being held at the prison for numerous charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping.

The Sheriff’s Office says Collazo will have additional charges brought against him in connection with his escape attempts. Those charges may include third-degree assault and battery, however, the investigation is ongoing.

Collazo’s public defender released a statement regarding the incident saying:

“The incident being referred to as an attempted escape by Mr. Collazo occurred while he was on suicide watch, completely naked, and handcuffed behind his back.

He is alleged to have run around in this state within the interior of the Secured Housing Unit at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, an area that is secured by locked steel doors.

This incident ended in Mr. Collazo jumping over an interior railing within the dorm, while his hands were still cuffed behind his back and naked, from the second tier to the first tier of the dorm landing on a concrete floor resulting in a broken ankle.

These are obviously not the actions of an individual who was thinking clearly or rationally with an intent to escape. These are the actions of a very troubled young man.

At the appropriate time I look forward to addressing all of the allegations against Mr. Collazo, but I have no further comment at this time.”

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