Manhunt for escapee ends with arrest in McDuffie County

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DEARING, Ga. – A man who escaped from the rear seat of a police car near Harlem on Wednesday morning resulted in a two-hour manhunt in a wooded area of McDuffie County before authorities found him.

Sgt. Kelvin Hartwell of the Harlem Department of Public Safety identified the suspect as Frank Coe, a McDuffie County resident. Charges against Mr. Coe include escape, driving with a suspended driver’s license, a tail light violation and obstruction on a law enforcement officer, according to Sgt. Hartwell.

The police officer said he make a traffic stop on Mr. Coe at the intersection of County Line and Saw Dust roads about 8 a.m. Mr. Coe was initially placed under arrest for driving with a suspended license and having a tail light out.

Sgt. Hartwell explained that after he handcuffed Mr. Coe and placed him in the rear of his patrol car that he somehow managed to roll down a window and escape. At the time, the officer was busy searching Mr. Coe’s Dodge pickup truck.

Mr. Coe last was seen running towards a wooded area near the intersection of where the traffic stop was made.

Sgt. Hartwell said he then notified Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Jerry Baldwin who contacted sheriff’s departments in Columbia and McDuffie counties for help.

A tracking dog, led by Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Baxley, arrived on the scene a short time later and picked up Mr. Coe’s trail. Assisting deputies from Columbia County in the chase of the suspect were McDuffie County Deputies Barry Whitfield, Henry Campbell and Britt Bentley.

After cutting through a wooded area off Larkin Road, a short distance from Dearing, Mr. Coe was apprehended by lawmen – close to Green’s Trailer Park, off County Line Road about 10 a.m.

Mr. Coe is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center in Appling.


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