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Inmate took nurse hostage, smashed cruiser window in escape attempt

Court documents allege that Colbey Bradley threatened to kill the nurse if the officer didn’t let him go

By Paul Hamby
Billings Gazette

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Billings man is facing multiple felonies after allegedly taking a nurse by the neck, then smashing his way out of a cruiser, in an attempt to escape from custody Thursday.

Colbey James Bradley, 39, has been charged in Yellowstone County District Court with one count of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of attempted escape. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Bradley was in the custody of Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office personnel on Thursday when deputies took him to the Billings Clinic for medical treatment. He was detained on a $10,000 warrant issued for his arrest out of Billings Municipal Court, according to court documents.

While being treated, Bradley pulled an IV out of his arm and used the bathroom. When he returned, two nurses came into the room to replace his IV. A YCSO officer maintaining custody over Bradley stepped back to allow the nurses to do their job, charging documents say. After the IV was replaced, one of the nurses turned to leave. Bradley allegedly put his hand at her throat, and said he had a “shank.”

Court documents allege that Bradley threatened to kill the nurse if the officer didn’t let him go. The officer tried ordering Bradley to release the nurse while the inmate pulled her into a hallway and toward a stairwell. After Billings Clinic Security arrived, the officer saw that Bradley’s hand was empty. He rushed Bradley, placing him in an arm bar. A security officer tazed Bradley. Once Bradley stopped resisting, the officer handcuffed him.

A Billings police officer who responded to the scene spoke with several witnesses, court documents say, including the nurse who Bradley allegedly tried to kidnap. The officer saw scratches on her neck.

Officers put Bradley in a YCSO patrol vehicle to take him back to Yellowstone County Detention Facility, and he allegedly started “banging his head” on the divider between him and the driver. As the vehicle rushed down 27th Street on its way to the jail, Bradley then kicked out a passenger window, shattering the glass, and tried to climb out, documents said.

Half of Bradley’s body was hanging out the window when the driver slowed the vehicle. When it came to a stop, Bradley flopped onto the ground. The same YCSO officer who had pulled Bradley away from the Billings Clinic nurse again detained him until Billings police arrived. Officers put him in a vehicle with side-door barriers, court documents say, and he was processed back into YCDF. County prosecutors filed charges against Bradley on Friday.

Health care workers are up to five times more likely to be injured by workplace violence than any other worker in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurses and emergency medical technicians are especially vulnerable to violence, which has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month that would require health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. A House version of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act was passed in April 2021.

Bradley was on parole at the time of the alleged kidnapping and escape attempts. He was previously sentenced in Yellowstone and Silver Bow counties for several offenses that included theft, forgery and burglary.

If convicted of aggravated kidnapping, Bradley could be imprisoned for the rest of his life and face a fine of up to $50,000. A conviction for attempted escape in Montana comes with the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.


(c)2022 the Billings Gazette (Billings, Mont.)