Escapee caught, facing new criminal charges

STEUBENVILLE – Benjamin M. Delguzzi is back in the Jefferson County Jail today facing new criminal charges and covered in a poison ivy rash.

The 27-year old Delguzzi was captured by law enforcement officials at approximately 5 a.m. Sunday after the sheriff’s department received a tip the escaped prisoner was staying at his mother’s house in Toronto and was having a bag prepared for him by his wife.

“The deputies parked about a mile from his mother’s home on Marina Road in Toronto and walked to the house where they heard male and female voices in the house. They saw Delguzzi and he took off running. His own family tried to restrain him but he was struggling with them,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla.

“Delguzzi was twice ordered to put his hands behind his back but he refused and continued to struggle. He was finally tasered and handcuffed and brought back to the jail,” said Abdalla.

The Steubenville resident walked away from a work detail Tuesday at the Jefferson County fairgrounds at Friendship Park.

Delguzzi had been serving a 180-day sentence out of Steubenville Municipal Court for assault. Delguzzi was involved in a domestic incident in May in the city. A sheriff’s deputy working in the hilltop areas answered the call and got into a physical altercation with Delguzzi. Abdalla said Delguzzi was set to be released from jail in November, but is now facing additional charges and more jail time. Delguzzi initially was charged with assault on a police officer, a felony, but it was reduced to assault in municipal court.

Delguzzi was using a weed trimmer at the fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon when he walked away.

A deputy monitoring the work crew noticed that Delguzzi was missing and the weed trimmer he was using was found on the ground near a trail the deputy believes Delguzzi used in his escape.

Several police agencies initially searched the surrounding area Tuesday, but Delguzzi, who was wearing an orange prisoner coveralls, could not be located.

Abdalla said a Cadiz officer fired a Taser at Delguzzi Wednesday afternoon near Cadiz, but Delguzzi was able to escape.

Delguzzi later broke into a home outside Cadiz and stole clothing and left his orange prisoner uniform behind, Abdalla said.

The sheriff said the Ohio State Highway Patrol had an airplane in the air, STAT MedEvac provided a helicopter for the search and numerous police agencies participated in the five-day search for Delguzzi.

“We received numerous reports of sightings of Delguzzi, but he was playing games,” according to Abdalla.

“We will be charging him with escape and he will probably face charges in Harrison County for breaking into a home and taking clothing,” said Abdalla.

“Delguzzi traveled from the fairgrounds to the Cadiz area and then back to Toronto during his five days on the run. He may have gotten a ride here and there, but most of the time he spent hiding in the woods. That is where he picked up the poison ivy,” Abdalla said.

“I want to thank his family and, especially, his mother for cooperating with us. We didn’t want to see anyone hurt by Delguzzi and didn’t want him to be injured during his run. Fortunately for him, all he is suffering from is poison ivy. He was running and hiding in the woods during the very hot and humid days last week,” Abdalla noted.

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