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Bryan County escapee captured in Screven

After a four-hour manhunt that involved an airplane, helicopter, tracking dogs and officers from at least 13 law enforcement agencies, a Bryan County jail escapee waded out of a Screven County swamp and surrendered.

Randall Joey Futch, 46, faces a number of charges relating to the events that started with his escape from the Bryan County jail late on Feb. 11. By early the next morning, authorities say Futch had walked several miles, barefoot and shirtless in 40-degree weather. He hijacked a truck near Pembroke, injuring the truck’s owner.

An officer in Brooklet spotted the stolen truck and gave chase – through Bulloch County and into Screven County via Highway 301, picking up a Georgia State Patrol car and other police cars along the way.

When Futch reached Highway 17 in the Cooperville community, he turned south toward Oliver. As officers tried to use a rolling roadblock to stop him, Futch wound up ramming the Brooklet police car, which ran off the road and overturned twice.

The police officer was slightly injured in the wreck, but he was able to jump into the state trooper’s car and continue the chase.

Futch turned on Halcyondale Road and soon ditched the truck near a low-lying area, fleeing on foot. The manhunt included officers from Bryan, Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties; the cities of Oliver, Pembroke, Rocky Ford, Statesboro and Sylvania; and state agencies including the Georgia Department of Corrections, and Georgia Department of Public Safety and Georgia State Patrol.

Quick response by a private pilot who donated his skills and airplane, Hank Maierhoffer Jr. of Sylvania, helped contain Futch and was a big help in his capture, Dickerson said. The helicopter, from the Georgia State Patrol’s aviation unit, “about sat down on his head,” Dickerson said.

Futch was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, felony-level fleeing and attempting to elude, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving. He faces additional charges for escape and for hijacking the truck. Futch had been convicted of burglaries in Bryan County and also faced drug and weapons charges there, Dickerson said.