Police lose track of suspect at hospital - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Police lose track of suspect at hospital

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PORTSMOUTH, Oh. -

Portsmouth Police say they captured Zachary Hall after a police chase through town.

Then, they lost him.

After he jumped from the car he was driving, police caught Hall.

Police say Hall appeared to be injured, so they called for EMS, and Hall was transported to Saint Mary's Hospital in Huntington. - That was on Monday.

On Wednesday, police say Hall left the hospital.

"I think he should have been watched," says Cathy Jones, who witnessed the chase run through the Rosemount community before crashing down the street.

Police say Hall ran stop signs, drove as fast as 100 miles per hour, and weaved all around Rosemount.

Mrs. Jones agrees with Facebookers who took to the internet to voice their disapproval of police for not constantly monitoring Hall.

"Especially with him being a [drug] dealer, because you don't know what they're going to do," says Mrs. Jones.

Kimberly Robinson of Portsmouth wonders why Hall, a convicted felon, was given the "reward" of another chance to flee, since he would be in jail now if he had not tried to elude police in the first place.

"Well, I mean, they could be released out of the hospital, hit a kid, get in another high-speed chase, kill a police officer. I think everybody's life is in danger, when you just let them walk like that."

Portsmouth Police would not do an interview for this story, but they did tell us about how they handle suspects that are hospitalized.

Privacy laws prevent hospital employees from telling police when a suspect is released.

Police say that is why they usually have an officer at the hospital to bring the suspect to jail after treatment.

In this case, since Hall was flown out of the state, police say they did not have the resources to monitor Hall, and they lost track of him.

West Virginia State Police tell 13 News they were contacted by Portsmouth Police, asking them to be on the lookout for Hall.

Hospital officials confirmed that because of strict guidelines in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), if a patient requests that no such information be released, that request must be granted, even if that patient is wanted by police.

In the past, Zachary Hall has been convicted of possession of a controlled substance and operating a weapon under disability.

Police say, on Monday, they pursued Hall to serve an outstanding felony probation warrant.

Anyone with information on Hall's whereabouts are asked to call police immediately.