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UPDATE: Sheriff’s Office Believes Georgia Escapee Has Left Madison County

NEW HOPE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says it believes Chad Dasher, the escapee from Georgia, has fled the southern Madison County area.  They believe he is headed back to Georgia.

Several agencies have  been looking for Dasher since early Wednesday morning after a chase involving two stolen vehicles.  They conducted an extensive search in the New Hope area, staffing extra deputies at two schools as a precaution.

At 1 p.m. Sgt. Brian Chaffin, with the Sheriff’s Office, said Dasher is believed to be driving a 2002 black Toyota Sequoia with the Alabama tag number 47C45W5.  Deputies say Dasher stole the vehicle Wednesday morning in Madison County.

Dasher is still believed to be armed and dangerous and should not be approached by the general public.  He is an escapee from the Savannah, Georgia area.  Please call 911 if you see him.

WHNT News 19 spoke with Madison County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Stephens on the scene, who said Dasher has an extensive criminal history and doesn’t want to be caught.

“The individual’s rap sheet extends to over 30 pages. Most of the violence has been directed at law enforcement,” said Madison County Deputy Chris Stephens. “It’s our understanding that the individual is addicted to narcotics and he vehemently does not want to go back to prison. So, we certainly consider him to be armed and dangerous.”

Wednesday morning, sheriff’s deputies were stationed at New Hope Elementary and New Hope High School as a precaution.  Both schools are having classes.

The ordeal started early Wednesday around 1:00 a.m. with a chase near Highway 431 and Main Drive in New Hope.

Deputies say they tried to make a traffic stop when Dasher led them on a short chase down Main Drive to Hereford Road.

Investigators say Dasher took off running after the gold SUV he was driving got stuck in the mud.  Crews used heavy equipment to remove the SUV from the mud just after 6:30 a.m.

Deputies say the vehicle is believed to be stolen from either Texas or Arkansas.  Authorities say they found a police scanner in the front seat of the vehicle.

Deputies are not sure why Dasher is in New Hope.

“Possibly just passing through we do not know. Our understanding was it was quite an extensive manhunt in the state of Texas,” said Madison County Deputy Chris Stephens. “Again, he escaped from Georgia so that indicated he may be working his way back home or toward home. We do not know at this point. It is very preliminary.”

We’ll continue to keep you updated on WHNT News 19, WHNT.com, and on social media for breaking developments.