Local News

Escaped Prisoner Recaptured In Cumberland County

Posted February 21, 2002

— The inmate who escaped from Florida authorities during a stop along Interstate 95 in Cumberland County Tuesday morning is in custody.

Just about 24 hours after his escape, Cumberland County officials found

Rodney Lawrence Stegall

hiding in the crawl space of a home located about a quarter of a mile away from where he escaped.

Joe Fisher contacted authorities early Wednesday. He said he became suspicious after he noticed the door to the crawl space of his cousin's home on Evans Dairy Road was unlocked. He found Stegall hiding inside.

"They told me that they heard a noise. I crawled up under there and went halfway and shined the light ... there was a piling that holds the house up, and he was squatted by the side of it," Fisher said.

Stegall, 24, was taken into custody around 10 a.m. He is in the Cumberland County Jail charged with felonious escape.

The convicted felon said that he ran because Florida deputies made it easy for him.

"There were no shackles on so that's what anyone would do," he said.

Stegall escaped while on a bathroom break at an Exxon gas station at Exit 49 off of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Deputies with the Volusia County, Fla. Sheriff's Office had stopped for gas and to allow Stegall to use the restroom.

"The male deputy had to use the restroom also, so the female deputy was bringing him back to the car and as he came out, he (Stegall) broke free and ran into the woodline area," Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler said.

Stegall was handcuffed at the time, but he did not have any leg shackles. He was being taken from Daytona Beach, where he was facing grand larceny charges, back to the

Nash Correctional Institution

in Nashville, N.C., where he was serving a 45-year sentence. He has a prior conviction for an assault on a law officer.

More than 100 Cumberland County deputies searched the area with the help of a K9 unit. A Highway Patrol helicopter also assisted in the search.

"It's scary, but we are just thankful that I noticed this and got him out of there, and it's good for everyone that he's back in custody," said Daniel Faircloth, Fisher's cousin.

Stegall was transported back to Nash County Wednesday afternoon.


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