Search under way for man recently released from jail
by James Phillips
Aug 11, 2011 | 5125 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe speaks with Scottie Wilkins inside the Walker Baptist Medical Center emergency room Wednesday afternoon. Wilkins injured his knee while chasing a suspect earlier in the day. Photo by: James Phillips
Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe speaks with Scottie Wilkins inside the Walker Baptist Medical Center emergency room Wednesday afternoon. Wilkins injured his knee while chasing a suspect earlier in the day. Photo by: James Phillips
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A Jasper police officer was injured Wednesday afternoon while trying to subdue a suspect in the woods after a foot chase near 20th Avenue.

Officer Scottie Wilkins was patrolling 20th Avenue near Artie Lane around 3:30 p.m. when he noticed a white male walking down the road. JPD Captain Dennis Corbell said Wilkins stopped to talk to the person and after a few moments the man fled on foot through nearby woods.

Wilkins then followed the man on foot and was injured while trying to apprehend the suspect, Corbell said.

“Scotty got the guy down once, but he got loose,” Corbell said. “When Scotty was getting up to chase him again, he heard his knee pop and couldn’t move.”

Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said the suspect got away but he has been identified as 25-year-old Billy Jack Abel of Jasper and police are continuing their search for him. Rowe added that Ralph Williams, a Walker County Sheriff’s Office investigator, was quick to come to Wilkins’ aid.

“We appreciate Ralph Williams and his efforts to help one of our officers,” Rowe said. “He is an officer that routinely does things like that.”

Wilkins, who was taken to the emergency room at Walker Baptist Medical Center after the incident for X-rays and treatment, said Williams carried him over his shoulder to help get him out of the woods.

Abel, who bonded out of the Walker County Jail on Aug. 4 on felony theft charges, is now facing felony charges of second-degree assault of a police officer and attempting to elude police.

Abel is 6-foot, 175 pounds with brown hair. He also has several tattoos.

Rowe said anyone with information regarding Abel’s whereabouts should contact the Jasper Police Department at 205-221-2121.