It was shortly before 7:30 a.m. when reputed Crips member Andre White, 44, made a break for it while being treated for an undisclosed injury at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.
White was in custody awaiting trial following a major takedown by city and state authorities last fall of leaders, members and associates of the "42-50" subset of the Crips street gang in Paterson.
The crew is accused of slinging heroin connected to eight overdose deaths and 14 nonfatal ODs from drugs sold at open-air markets where shootings are common.
White, who has an extensive criminal history, was being freed from shackles and handcuffs to use the bathroom when he suddenly ran from the hospital room, Berdnik said.
Two sheriff's officers grabbed and secured him after a brief struggle, the sheriff said.
The officers were being treated for injuries sustained in the scuffle.
"Both officers exhibited the utmost of bravery and professionalism," Berdnik said.
His Special Investigation Unit was preparing charges that were expected to include escape and assault on law enforcement officers.
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