The Georgia inmate who walked away from a work detail at chicken coop last Sunday morning is back in custody, but it wasn't the police who tracked the inmate down -- it was a Wheeler County Elementary School Principal.
Pat Ethredge is busy preparing for his first year as principal at Wheeler County Elementary School, but on Monday, his day got much busier.
"I just believe it was divine intervention that it happened the way it did," he says.
Ethredge was driving home from work when he spotted his mother's truck at a red light.
Seeing a random man inside the vehicle, Ethredge says he realized that the man must've stolen it from his mother.Ethredge about how he helped bring Eller to justice.
What he didn't know was that the driver was escaped inmate Walter Eller.
"When I approached him at the gas station, I just said, 'Hey, your truck is smoking.' I was trying to not tip him off that the truck belongs to my family. I think he smelled a rat, so he tried to get away and I wasn't able to get him then," Ethredge says.
But Ethredge says that just meant the chase was on.
As the inmate pulled into the woods, jumped out of the truck, and started running, Ethredge didn't hesitate to run after him.
"He turned around and we basically squared off, and I tried to talk him down and convince him to give up and that he was caught and law enforcement was in the area. He wasn't having any part of that, so I grabbed his shirt and ripped his shirt off of him and he turned and tried to run and I just tackled him to the ground," he says, wearing his battle scars proudly.
"Just a few scratches from thorns or whatever. Nothing major," Ethredge says.
Ethredge says he's thankful that this was the only damage that happened that day.
Ethredge's co-workers are calling him a hometown hero, but he says he just did what he felt was necessary to protect others from being hurt or burglarized.
He says the real heroes are the policemen and women who keep us safe every day.
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