Taxpayers could get stuck with a hefty portion of nearly $78,000 in medical bills racked up by an Erie County jail inmate who attempted suicide in August.
Former inmate Timothy J. Thayer jumped head-first from a second-story walkway in a common area of the jail onto the concrete floor below.
He was flown from Firelands Regional Medical Center to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo after the Aug. 28 suicide attempt.
The billing for the air transport and first two days of treatment totaled $77,872, Sheriff Terry Lyons said.
A judge furloughed Thayer, 47, from the jail Aug. 30 in an attempt to end the county's responsibility for his ongoing medical bills.
But the initial costs likely will be paid from jail funds, Lyons said, although Medicaid could pick up as much as half of those costs.
"We should be able to cover (the balance) in our existing budget," he said.
The portion of the sheriff's budget set aside for inmate medical expenses this year is $105,000, Lyons said, and to date $59,883 of that has been used.
The county already paid about $1,300 in expenses, and has already received an additional $6,000 in bills for Thayer's treatment.
He spent about a month in intensive care at St. Vincent. Fees for that level of care range from about $2,000 to $4,000 per day.
Thayer was brought in by wheelchair to Erie County Common Pleas Court last week and sentenced to seven years in prison on a felonious assault charge.
He was charged after a January incident in which he became enraged and threatened to kill family members and himself.
A family member said that "at one point (Thayer) had a shotgun he thought was loaded and stuck it under the chin of (a relative) and pulled the trigger," according to sheriff's Capt. Paul Sigsworth.
Thayer agreed to a plea bargain on the charges but became distraught afterwards prior to his original sentencing date.