A man investigators called “Effingham County’s most-wanted fugitive” was arrested Thursday night following a manhunt in a wooded area off McCall Road.
Ashton Rashad Wallace, 22, of Springfield, a suspect in an Oct. 28 armed robbery at the Dollar General store off Highway 30, was arrested after his suspicious behavior attracted attention.
Wallace and a 17-year-old passenger were in a Mercedes investigators learned had been taken in a carjacking in Savannah the night before. When Wallace noticed a Georgia State Patrol car with its blue lights flashing on McCall Road near Blue Jay Road, he and the teenager left the car on the side of the road and ran.
“I think he thought it was a checkpoint,” said Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “He was so paranoid that he abandoned the car and ran into the woods. He really got himself caught.”
A witness who saw the men run into the woods alerted the state trooper. Authorities set up a perimeter around the woods, Ehsanipoor said, and “in probably less than 30 minutes, ECSO deputies had both in custody.”
Wallace was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the armed robbery at the Dollar General.
Wallace is being held in the Effingham County Jail. He could face additional charges as the investigation continues, according to Ehsanipoor.
“We believe he is responsible for other crimes in Effingham and Chatham counties,” Ehsanipoor said.
The 17-year-old was charged with theft by receiving stolen property and obstruction.
Investigators believe Wallace is one of the two men who robbed the Dollar General at gunpoint on Oct. 28. Another suspect — Jermaine Dontae Lanier, 23, of Savannah — was arrested Oct. 29 on the same charges Wallace faces.