Escapee Caught After High-Speed Chase, Crash - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Escapee Caught After High-Speed Chase, Crash

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Robert Wayne Cooper Robert Wayne Cooper

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - It took a high-speed chase, but police captured an escaped jail inmate late Tuesday night.

Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers found Montgomery County jail trustee Robert Wayne Cooper at a Clarksville rest stop.

Cooper was in a truck with a stolen Illinois license plate. When troopers approached the vehicle, Cooper led them on a chase down Interstate 24. Officers were able to arrest him when he crashed in a field.

 "Sometimes trustees do untrustworthy things and he simply ran away from a job site," said Ted Denny, senior chaplain and spokesman for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Cooper has been on the run since last July.  On Tuesday night, THP officers found him at a rest stop.

He took off as police approached the vehicle and raced down the interstate. The chase ended a few miles down the road in a field.

"Mr. Cooper wrecked the vehicle that he was in, fled from officers and was captured just moments after fleeing his vehicle," Denny said.

Cooper has been on the run since July. In addition to serving his previous sentence for theft, Cooper will also face escape charges.

"Had he stayed in jail and served his time there's a high probability that as you and I are doing this interview that he would have already been released from the Montgomery County Jail.

 "We're very fortunate that the troopers weren't injured and that we have him back In custody. He'll be with us for a long time," Denny said.

Over the past year, four inmates have escaped from custody at the county jail; three have since been found. In December, the jail accidentally released the wrong inmate. After an internal investigation, an officer was suspended and a civilian employee was fired.

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