SARATOGA, N.C. — Authorities filed numerous charges Tuesday against an Edgecombe County inmate who led them on an afternoon manhunt and may add more charges on Wednesday.
Police said Austin Reid Pittman, 26, escaped while receiving medical treatment at a hospital. They apprehended him following a search of farms and woods in southeastern Wilson County, near the Edgecombe and Wilson county line. The state Highway Patrol helicopter and K-9 units assisted in the search.
Pittman will likely face several new charges for his escape attempt, including reckless driving, flee to elude arrest, driving with a revoked license, probation violation and possession of a stolen vehicle, Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight said.
Knight said Pittman was being held in the Edgecombe County Detention Center pending an April court appearance on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He had been taken from the jail to Pitt Memorial Hospital earlier in the day and escaped from a detention officer.
Pittman was allowed to go the restroom and eluded the detention officer, Knight said. He was able to get into a work area and to steal a van belonging to a painting company that was working at the hospital, Knight said.
Authorities from Pitt, Nash and Edgecombe counties, the state Highway Patrol and officers from Rocky Mount, Pinetops and Sharpsburg chased Pittman from Greenville to Rocky Mount to Tarboro to Pinetops and Macclesfield.
The van was found abandoned late Tuesday afternoon at the edge of some woods west of the Pitt County town of Fountain. Authorities continued their pursuit on foot and apprehended Pittman about a mile and a half away.
Pittman was one of two men charged two years ago with a series of car break-ins in Wake, Wilson and Edgecombe counties.
Knight said the deputies guarding Austin Pittman were being questioned about the escape.