MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) – Law enforcement told News4 an inmate who escaped from police custody on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County had been located by authorities on Wednesday.
Official said Christopher Taylor, 24, of Cleveland is behind bars Wednesday night after the inmate escaped custody on I-24 in Murfreesboro. News 4 is learning more details about how police found him and how businesses played a role in the search.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Taylor escaped after being transported by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office near mile marker 81 in Murfreesboro. Around 3:30 p.m., Taylor was located at the Knight’s Inn in Murfreesboro.
According to the Benton County Sheriff, Taylor had been transported to Benton County but was sent back to Bradley County for violation of probation issues. While in transport Wednesday afternoon, he began kicking the cage that runs between the two seats in a patrol car.
After kicking out the cage, the sheriff said that Taylor moved towards the corrections officer transporting him. The officer then reached for his taser and attempted to tase Taylor. However, the officer missed Taylor.
After the officer pulled over, Taylor escaped from the vehicle’s front door. He then ran towards the Cracker Barrel near that exit.
The corrections officer was injured in the wrist and was transported to St. Thomas Rutherford county.
Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher said the corrections officer is 19 and just a few months into the job but did everything right. “I don’t know of anything from what I am being told that we could have done any difference that would make any difference unless we had maybe two officers in the car,” Christopher said. “We all know in Tennessee right now and across the nation, everyone in law enforcement is short of manpower.”
The escaped inmate on I-24 in Murfreesboro ended up right behind where Thomas Brown works. “It was a movie,” Brown said. “You don’t expect something like that to actually happen,” Brown said.
Brown said surveillance from the car repair company he works at shows inmate Christopher Taylor jumping the fence behind the business near the Knights Inn and running into the woods. Brown said as he and other employees watched, they realized Taylor never came back out. “Finally, we had a couple officers come in and said that we can see he never leaves this wooded area,” Brown said. “We told them to check it. Two officers finally went back into the woods and within five minutes, they had him in custody.”
That is exactly where law enforcement found him. Two Murfreesboro County Sheriff’s sergeants noticed a manhole cover misplaced, opened it and saw the inmate. “When we found out it was like, that is actually what happened,” Brown said.
Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh thanked deputies, Murfreesboro Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers, K9s from the sheriff’s office, 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 check 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.”
Taylor has been charged with attempted carjacking, felony theft, aggravated assault and escape. He is now being held at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center while awaiting a General Sessions Curt hearing.