Covington Co. Escaped Inmate Turns Himself In
A four-day search for an escaped inmate in Covington County comes to an end after he turns himself in to police -- and Andalusia police tell us they think communicating with the inmate may have influenced him to surrender.
Andalusia Police say they spent the last three days communicating with Zachery Chambers by phone and through social media -- it was then police say Chambers hinted he could've been dangerous to the public.
Zachery Chambers escaped from the Andalusia Police department as what's called a trustee inmate -- Inmates given freedom to work in public areas.
A four-day search ensued -- that ended with Chambers turning himself in to an off-duty police officer.
Liutenant Paul Dean, organized the effort and says putting him back behind bars wasn't easy.
Police say Chambers reached out to them on Facebook. That's when Dean gave him his phone number, which lead to phone calls and text messages. They were messages, Dean says, indicated violence...
"With him making those statements, 'I'm not going back to jail, I'll die before I go back to jail,'" Said Dean.
And this text message. It reads: "If they come for me, I'm going to shoot myself." It's the last message Dean received from Chambers.
"He was indicating to me that he was at a minimum, armed. And if you have someone that is armed, that's on the run and you get them cornered in any location, there's a couple of different scenarios that could play out," Said Dean.
That's when he says Chambers indicated a new level of violence to law enforcement attempting to arrest him.
"At that point in time, my main goal and goal for the officers involved was to shrink his circle and to limit where he can go and where he can receive assistance," Said Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams.
Officers received a tip saying Chambers was in Andalusia. After checking multiple locations in the area, they say Chambers contacted an off-duty police officer. Shortly after, he was booked in the Covington County Jail on a felony Escape charge.
This means Chambers will receive a one to ten year sentence in addition to the 330 day sentence he was already serving for a drug charge.
The Andalusia Police department tells us Chambers was booked into jail about 14 days ago. He was a trustee for 5 of those days.
The Covington County Sheriff Office has now discontinued trustee services throughout the county. There's no word on whether that will be a permanent change.
Alabama News Network tried to reach out to the officer who met up with Chambers, but we were told she was unavailable for comment.