An inmate accused of assaulting a Benton County deputy and escaping is back in custody after a four-hour search Wednesday, said Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.
Suspect Christopher Taylor, 24, of Cleveland was being transported from Benton County to Cleveland in Bradley County when he escaped about 11:20 a.m. on Interstate 24 near the South Church Street exit.
Sheriff’s Detective Joseph Duncan charged Taylor with attempted car-jacking, felony theft, aggravated assault and escape.
Fitzhugh thanked deputies, Murfreesboro Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers, K9s from the sheriff’s office, Murfreesboro and La Vergne Police, THP helicopter pilot Lt. Brad Lund, communications who kept officers informed of developments, Rutherford County Public Safety Director Chris Clark who provided support and Emergency Medical Services paramedics who checked Taylor.
“Our concern is for people and ensuring they are safe and no harm comes to any of our citizens,” Fitzhugh said. “That is why we commit so much manpower in taking someone into custody as soon as possible.”
During a news conference, Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher said Taylor faced drug charges in his county. A deputy was returning him to Bradley County today.
“He came through the screen in the back of the car where it was an open window area and attacked the corrections officer,” Christopher said. “He has been treated and released with minor injuries.”
The corrections officer fought with Taylor on the side of the road, the sheriff said. A unknown truck driver pulled them away from each other.
Christopher said he felt confident he would be found soon.
Moments after the news conference ended, deputies found Taylor.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Coble and Sgt. James Holloway were searching behind Caliber Collision when Coble noticed fresh rust on a sewer cover and thought it was strange.
“When I pulled it up, there he sat on a ledge,” Coble said. “Sgt. Holloway helped pull him out of the hole.”
Holloway said they handcuffed Taylor and placed him on the ground.
“Fortunately, it was just storm water and not sewage,” Holloway said.
Taylor is being held at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center while awaiting a General Sessions Court hearing.
Christopher said he appreciated all the efforts by the sheriff’s office, Murfreesboro and La Vergne Police and THP.