Public assists in capturing fugitive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Four days after a felon wanted in Dallas County for escape

evaded authorities, Georgiana Police officials brought him

into custody.Frederick Lamar Irby, age 33 from Selma, was

spotted by a citizen on Wednesday morning, in front of the

Dollar Store. This citizen called the Georgiana Police

Department, who attempted to make contact with him.When

officers arrived at the Dollar Store, Irby, along with his

three passengers in the white Dodge Dynasty, sped off from

them in what spurred the largest manhunt in recent Butler

County history.Irby led authorities on a high-speed chase

east of Georgiana, where he wrecked his car, reportedly

owned by his girlfriend, Linda Pate, who was a passenger in

the front seat of the car.&uot;The suspect drove his vehicle

right into a dirt bank, wrecking it, and jumped from the car

on foot,&uot; said Georgiana Investigator Clint Reaves. &uot;He was

probably 75 yards ahead of us, but ran into the woods, and

we could not make contact with him.&uot;Officers from Georgiana,

Greenville and McKenzie worked in cooperation with the

Sheriff Departments of Butler, Conecuh, and Covington

counties, covering an area of about 30 square miles of

territory. In addition, representatives from the Alabama

Department of corrections furnished two dog tracking teams,

the Department of Public Safety furnished a helicopter and

several Troopers and the Department of Fish and Game

Enforcement supplied Game Wardens, working in unison for

four days straight in attempts to bring this wanted felon

into custody. &uot;Irby was wanted in Dallas County for escaping

from custody,&uot; said Sheriff Diane Harris. &uot;He was serving a

five-year sentence for assault, second degree on a police

officer.&uot;On Saturday night, Georgiana Police Capt. Jimmie

Matthews, a veteran of more than 20 years with the Georgiana

Police Department had been on patrol, looking for Irby. &uot;We

received several calls from residents in the New Home Road

area, just south of town,&uot; Matthews said. &uot;They (the

callers) said that they had seen Irby walking through

yards.&uot;Matthews responded to the area, and staked it out,

looking for any signs of Irby. &uot;I had been parked at the New

Home Road railroad crossing for about five minutes, when, at

about 10 p.m. I saw him (Irby). A soon as I spotted him, I

radioed for backup, and kept him in sight.&uot;Matthews said he

then saw Irby go into a resident’s shed. &uot;As soon as Officer

Alan Ward and Trooper John Bailey got there, we went into

the building and searched it.&uot;Officer Ward was the first to

see Irby once they were inside the barn. &uot;There was a hole

in the floor, and although there was not much room between

it and the ground underneath, that is where Irby was,&uot; Ward

said.Irby came out of the hole without a struggle, and

shivering, was taken into custody.&uot;The first thing he (Irby)

asked us was if we would get him something to eat and

drink,&uot; Ward said.&uot;The only thing Irby had eaten in four

days was dried feed corn, which he had in his pockets,&uot;

Matthews said.Irby was taken to the Georgiana police

station, where he was fed and given hot coffee, and

paramedics were called to the station to check him out,

before he was transported to the Butler County Jail.&uot;I wish

to thank everyone who helped in the capture of this

criminal,&uot; said Investigator Reaves. &uot;Especially the public,

because if it were not for them, this dangerous criminal

would still be on the streets.&uot;I also want to thank Mayor

Stinson and the Town of McKenzie, because they supplied food

and drinks to all of the officers during the

manhunt.&uot;Sheriff Diane Harris commended the officers for

their actions. &uot;I am proud of Capt. Matthews for his actions

and quick thinking,&uot; Harris said Saturday night. &uot;I am glad

that the citizens of Georgiana and McKenzie can rest more

easily now, knowing that this dangerous man is back in

custody,&uot; she said.The Sheriff and her deputies spent

Saturday patrolling the railroad tracks and woods of the

area on all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s).&uot;We have all spent

numerous man-hours over the past four days, in tracking this

fugitive down,&uot; Harris said. &uot;I wish that there was a way to

recover restitution from Irby for all of the agencies that

invested overtime and equipment in the search.&uot;The City of

Georgiana has charged Irby with reckless endangerment,

attempting to elude police, reckless driving, failure to

stop at a stop sign, failure to comply with seat belt laws,

and driving a motor vehicle without insurance.Georgiana

officials also said that felony charges might be

forthcoming.