Escaped inmates captured in Hazlehurst

Escaped inmates captured in Hazlehurst

HAZLEHURST, Ga. (WTOC) - Two escaped inmates have been recaptured in Hazlehurst after officials say they assaulted a jailer and took off Thursday night.

Jeff Davis County Sheriff Preston Bohannon says they quickly captured one of them, but the second inmate was missing overnight.

Investigators say the inmates, identified as Christopher Thomas Hatton and Joshua Eason, overpowered the jailer when the jailer unlocked a door. The jailer had to be hospitalized overnight in Savannah.

“Hatton went to exit the door and he had an iron object in his hand, and he struck the jailer in the face,” Sheriff Bohannon said.

The inmates also struck another jailer down the hall, a female, and released the lock to get out to the street.

Eason was caught right away. Hatton was caught Friday morning after a tip was sent to the sheriff’s office that he was in an area south of Hazlehurst.

“He kind of turned this way to look behind him, and turned back. By the time he turned back, there was nowhere for him to go,” the sheriff said.

Bohannon says the county’s longtime jail needs replacing, and he and commissioners have discussed a new one.

“Inmates can break out of a brand new jail, but our jail is unfortunately older, and it doesn’t have the security that a modern jail has today. That makes it vulnerable."

Hatton was being held in Jeff Davis County on a probation warrant and charges from a chase and shootout in Emanuel County that took place last month. He has been charged with felony probation violation, criminal trespass, two counts of theft by taking, and forgery in the fourth degree. Additional charges are pending.

Eason is charged with aggravated child molestation and a probation violation misdemeanor. Additional charges are pending for him as well.

Sheriff Bohannon says he’s looking for another jail that will house the two inmates.

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