By Tommy McGraw
Livingston Fire Chief Kevin Brunson administers first aid to a suspect that escaped from a Livingston Police officer early Monday morning, Oct. 2. The suspect, who has not been identified, began complaining of chest pains following his arrest for the escape. The suspect was allegedly trying to break into vehicles near the interstate Monday. A massive West Alabama manhunt ensued following his escape from the LPD officer. The suspect stole a Cadillac and at one time was traveling north in the south bound lane of Interstate 20/59, narrowly missing oncoming vehicles. Seventeenth Judicial Task Force Commander Clint Sumlin performed a PIT maneuver on the suspect’s vehicle in an attempt to stop him from going the wrong way on the interstate.The suspect was captured by Greene County Deputy Henry “Hank” McWhorter at the north entrance of the rest stop in Greene County at about 10 15 a.m. Monday.
“Hey Sheriff, they got him on the ground,” radio tranmission could be heard as Alabama State Troopers and Greene County lawmen were waiting on Alabama Hwy. 14, just north of the I-20/59 rest stop in Greene County Monday morning, Oct. 2 at about 10 a.m.
The man on the ground was the captured, and still unidentified suspect that caused a massive manhunt early Monday morning in West Alabama. The “sheriff” refered to in the transmission was Greene County Sheriff Jonathan “Joe” Benison, who had joined the search after it moved from Sumter County to Greene at about 10 a.m.
Benison and his deputies were alerted to the immediate take down of the suspect at the Alabama rest stop in Greene County earlier in the day, near Exit 40.
The suspect was the subject of a massive manhunt early Monday morning, with lawmen from Livingston Police Dept., Eutaw PD, Sumter and Greene County Sheriff’s Departments, Alabama State Troopers, Seventeenth Judicial Task Force Agents and University of West Alabama Police all joining in to hunt the escapee.
Above: Police Barricade
Law enforcement arrest unidentified suspect from Oct. 2nd’s police chase.
According to reports from the officers on the scene, the man escaped from Livingston Police custody early Monday morning, Oct. 2.
The suspect was in the area of the businesses at Exit 17 when the arrest and escape occurred. According to one report, the suspect was attempting to break into vehicles near there.
Seventeenth Judicial Task Force members were called to assist at about 8:20 a.m., according to Commander Clint Sumlin.
DTF agents arrived with K-9 units and a perimeter was being set up when a report of a stolen grey Cadillac alerted officers, who raced to the businesses near Exit 17.
A caravan of police cars, trucks, and SUVs with blue lights flashing turned onto the north bound lane of the Interstate, and the pursuit began. At one point, a UWA Police officer spotted the suspect near the Boligee exit, and the suspect then turned back north but was traveling in the south bound lane on the I-20/59 Interstate.
Unidentified suspect from Oct. 2nd’s police chase being arrested.
Commander Sumlin said the situation “was very scary,” as the suspect ran vehicles off the roadway and the suspect had several near-misses, nearly colliding head-on with oncoming traffic as the suspect was trying to elude officers.
Sumlin, while in pursuit, said because of the great danger to the public he then decided to try a “PIT” maneuver or “Pursuit Intervention Technique” with his SUV to knock the suspect off the roadway to prevent a possible head-on collision with unsuspecting motorist in oncoming traffic.
Sumlin said after his SUV collided with the grey stolen Cadillac, the suspect then maneuvred around him and made it to the sound bound rest stop with Sumlin in hot pursuit.
Commander Sumlin said the suspect then left his vehicle and “hit the woods running.”
“Boy, it was so thick in there; we tried to pick up his scent with the K-9s and were being aided by the Alabama State Trooper helicopter.”
The suspect was believed to be “headed back toward Mississipi” or south bound when the helicopter arrived, according to radio tranmissions that could be heard by the reporter.
Then came the announcement, “He,y Sheriff, they got him on the ground.”
Greene County Deputy Sheriff Henry McWhorter was manning the north entrance to the rest stop in his unmarked patrol car when he spotted the suspect “crawl out of the woods.”
“I was just sitting here watching for him when I saw him peeking out of the bushes. You know I like to [deer] hunt a lot and he [suspect] was kind of like the smart old buck that tries to slip around behind the hunter, but I was waiting for him,” McWhorter joked as law officers gathered and congratulated him for getting the suspect into custody.
McWhorter said he saw the suspect crawing out of the bushes and immediately drew his pistol and jumped from his vehicle, demanding the suspect lay down on the ground. Police Chief Roger Tolliver, when contacted earlier, said he could not release any details due to the ongoing investigation.
Early reports were that the suspect was armed and dangerous, but Sheriff Benison said Chief Tolliver told him the suspect was not believed to carryng a weapon.
The suspect was taken into custody and taken to an awaiting Livingston ambulance that was waiting on the scene.
Livingston Fire Chief Kevin Brunson administered aid to the suspect after he began complaining of chest pains. The suspect was transported to DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.
More updates to this story can be read in the Thursday, Oct. 5 Sumter County Record Journal print edition.
UPDATE 10:47 A.M., 10-2-17:
Greene County Deputy Hank McWhorter, in white shirt, placed the suspect under arrest as he tried to circle back behind officers at the rest stop as law enforcement officers escort the suspect to an awaiting Livingston ambulance.
The suspect was captured at the entrance to the rest stop, as seen in the background. By Tommy McGraw, Publisher
An escapee from law enforcement last night in Livingston has turned into a massive manhunt in Greene County today, Monday, October 2.
Lawmen, it is believed, have cornered the suspect near the southbound rest stop in Greene County along I 20/59.
Conflicting reports said the escapee is armed and dangerous.
The suspect is believed to have abandoned a stolen Cadillac and has entered the woods. 17th Judicial Task Force K-9 units are in pursuit.
More updates to come. By Tommy McGraw, Sumter County Record Journal and Moundville Times Publisher