The inmate who walked away from a prison work crew in Madison County on Aug. 5 was captured in Fayette County Saturday afternoon.
Police arrested Spencer Johnson about 2:30 p.m. in thick woods near a bike trail in Greenfield, south of Washington Court House. An area resident who was hiking near the trail called police after he saw Johnson sitting beside a stream.
Officer Brian McNeil of the Greenfield police, the only available officer at the time, called in two off-duty officers to help comb the woods. It wasn’t long before they spotted Johnson, who unknowingly walked into their path.
Johnson surrendered immediately after Officer Shawn Shanks jumped out of brush near Farmers Run and Paint Creek and ordered the fugitive to give himself up. “He didn’t give him the chance to do anything,” McNeil said of Shanks.
Johnson, 28, was an inmate at London Correctional Institution when he walked away from a work crew that was picking up trash along I-70 east of the city of London two weeks ago.
Johnson entered the prison system in April from Fayette County and was serving a three-year sentence for burglary.
A massive manhunt after his escape proved fruitless. Then, authorities say, they believe that on Aug. 8, Johnson went to the West Jefferson water-treatment plant and stole a black Ford F-250 flatbed truck that had three 100-gallon diesel tanks attached.
Prison officials said a pair of boots found near where the truck was parked appeared to be prison-issued.
Video surveillance showed the truck driving through a rear gate and then through a separate gate at the front of the water plant at 12:50 a.m. Damage to the chain-link gates was estimated at $3,000.
No one has said whether that truck has been located.
After officers found Johnson, he led them to his camp, about 500 yards away along Paint Creek. Police found a shelter and small stove but no weapons. Johnson apparently had been staying there at least a few days, McNeil said.
Authorities took Johnson to the Fayette County jail today. Prison officials said additional charges will be filed against him after their investigation is complete.