Sheriff’s officials say a domestic battery suspect escaped from a Barrington-area hospital before punching Canine Dax, who tracked the man down and bit him Sunday morning.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded around 5:20 a.m. Sunday to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, 450 Route 22 in unincorporated Barrington.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said a man under arrest for aggravated domestic battery fled from the hospital during treatment.
Jaime C. Romero, 51, of Island Lake, was arrested by the Island Lake Police Department earlier that morning after strangling and battering his girlfriend, Covelli said.
Prosecutors also said Romero, who has several priors for domestic battery, threatened to kill the woman. He also had an active arrest warrant from Kane County.
Covelli said Romero was transported to the hospital for treatment after being arrested.
While being moved inside the hospital for treatment, he fled on foot after telling staff he was going to the restroom, prosecutors said.
The hospital staff notified police and the sheriff’s office responded.
Canine Dax and handler Deputy John Forlenza arrived and started tracking Romero, Covelli said.
While tracking Romero westbound in the parking lot, Lake County sheriff’s dispatchers received a call for a burglar alarm at an orthopedic doctor’s office in the 27400 block of Route 22.
Sheriff’s dispatchers were able to radio the information to sheriff’s deputies at the scene, Covelli said.
Dax and Forlenza tracked to the orthopedic doctor’s office and found an open door.
Dax began barking to alert Romero that he was there. Forlenza made several announcements to Romero to surrender or Dax would be released.
Romero refused to surrender and Dax located him in the doctor’s office and bit his leg, Covelli said.
Romero punched Dax, Covelli said, adding that the police canine was unfazed by the strikes “as is common with Dax.”
Romero was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies, evaluated for the dog bite to his leg and transported to the Lake County Jail.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of two counts of aggravated domestic battery, striking a police animal, resisting arrest and criminal trespass to building.
Dax was evaluated by his veterinarian and cleared to return to service, Covelli said.
“K9 Dax has done it again! Our ten canine teams are in the community serving the public each and every day,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“Through quick communication from our sheriff’s dispatchers, providing crucial information to our deputies at the scene along with the work of those at the scene, we were able to take this violent, fleeing offender into custody. I am proud of all of my staff involved in this incident,” Idleburg said.
The state’s attorney’s office filed a petition to detain Romero, arguing he is a threat to the victim and a willful flight risk.
Lake County Judge George Pappas ordered Romero held pending a detention hearing during First Appearance Court Sunday morning.