CROWN POINT | The Lake County prosecutor's office charged a Gary man Wednesday with attempting to flee from court officials on the day he was convicted of arson.
James E. Gardner III, 23, is named in Lake Criminal Court charges of attempted escape, resisting law enforcement and battery.
Lake County police allege Gardner, who was on trial May 23 in Judge Diane Boswell's court in Crown Point, was being escorted from the court's public area to a holding cell when he broke away from a court bailiff and ran back down the hallway into the courtroom.
Police said bailiff Pamela Conder saw Gardner running away and physically restrained him from running out of the courtroom and through a public exit. Their struggle carried them through the courtroom gate and into some chairs before others recaptured Gardner.
Police said Conder suffered bruises and soreness in her left shoulder and knee during that struggle.
He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of harming Conder while attempting to escape.
Court records indicate Gardner already is serving a prison term for his arson conviction.