Cullman County officials have arrested an escaped inmate in connection to a bomb scare at Cullman Regional Medical Center.
The Cullman County Sheriff's Office has identified the suspect at Jeremy Lewayne Lang. Sheriff Mike Rainey says Lang was picked up in Gulf Shores last weekend on outstanding warrants by the Arab police and taken to their city jail. He escaped around 8:30 p.m. Sunday night is suspected of calling in a bomb threat shortly after his escape.
Cullman officials say the suspect called Marshall County 911 to report bomb threats at Cullman Regional Medical Center and the Marshall Medical Center hospitals in both Boaz and Guntersville.
"He phoned in the threat to Marshall County 911 and told them there was a bomb in both of their hospitals in Marshall County and one in CRMC that was set to explode in about 45 minutes," Sheriff Rainey said.
Marshall County notified Cullman County emergency officials and they evacuated CRMC.
Rainey said Monday that Lang called in the hospital bomb threat to divert police while he attempted to harm his ex-girlfriend. Investigators zeroed in on Lang after his ex-girlfriend called police to say he had called her to tell her he had escaped from jail and was coming to kill her.
Deputies caught Lang on his way into the mobile home community in Joppa where his ex-girlfriend was staying with her dad. They quickly began to connect the dots and check cell phone records to see if he was the bomb threat caller.
Meanwhile at Cullman Regional Medical Center, hospital officials decided they had to take this threat seriously.
In response, 55 patients were moved to either the Woodland Medical Center Building, which is closed, or the Cullman Civic Center. CRMC officials said a total of nearly 300 people including patients, staff and family members were evacuated from the facility within an hour.
After everyone was out, Cullman's bomb sniffing dog, "Hammer," swept the hospital along with city and county law enforcement officers and gave the all clear. Around 10:40 p.m., patients were moved back into the hospital.
Officials with Cullman Regional Medical Center said they evacuated Sunday night in part because another patient was arrested last week for a bomb threat in the hospital's lobby.
"It put a different light on it because just this week in our emergency room we had a very irate patient who threatened pipe bombs and used other words to that effect. He was actually arrested here at the ER as he was being discharged, so we did take it seriously. And in light of what happened in Boston less than a week ago, we all had a heightened awareness of things," Susan Copeland, VP of Ambulatory Services said.
No one was injured during the bomb threat, and the hospital followed protocol for evacuations.
"You can never be too prepared for this type of threat," Copeland said in a news release issued Monday afternoon.
"Our staff and community agencies banded together to protect our patients and staff. We appreciate our physicians, staff, City of Cullman Police Department, Cullman County Sheriff's Department, Cullman Fire & Rescue Squad, mutual aid agencies, USA Healthcare – The Sanctuary at Woodland staff and administration, Cullman County Emergency Management Agency, Cullman City Parks & Recreation and so many more who rolled up their sleeves and did whatever was needed during this situation," Copeland added.
The hospital is now back to business as usual.
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