COVID-19 patient arrested after leaving fairgrounds quarantine, court records show
A coronavirus patient was arrested Thursday after prosecutors said he jumped a fence and fled the Nashville Fairgrounds, where health officials are using enforceable quarantines in an attempt to control an outbreak at an emergency homeless shelter.
According to an arrest affidavit, a 39-year-old man was taken to the Nashville Fairgrounds on Monday and placed under quarantine by the Metro Nashville Public Health Department because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Health officials told the man he could not leave until he was cleared, but on Thursday he jumped a fence and headed north on Nolensville Road, the affidavit states. He was stopped and arrested by Metro Nashville Parks police by a city cemetery nearly two miles from where he had been quarantined.
Metro Parks has charged the man with a single count of escape from a penal institution, a class A misdemeanor. The statute that defines this crime makes no mention of it being used to enforce quarantine orders. When asked about the legal authority to make this arrest, the Metro Health Department cited a different section of law that classifies violating quarantine as a class B misdemeanor, which is a less serious offense.
Davidson County Sheriff’s Office records show the fairgounds suspect was booked into the Metro jail at 5:17 p.m. on Thursday. As of Friday, he remained jailed in lieu of $5,000 bond.