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Hodges caught after manhunt
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A fleet-footed fugitive is behind bars after he was surrounded and left with nowhere to run Wednesday morning, one week after he ran from lawmen causing a lockdown of two Warren County schools.
The fugitive, Jeff Hodges, 40, has a history of running from the law, picking up his first evading arrest charge 20 years ago. He now has new evading charges to go along with counts of burglary, theft, vandalism and criminal trespassing.
Hodges had been at-large for one week when lawmen caught up to him holed up at a relative’s house in neighboring White County.
During his time on the run, Hodges made contact with a sheriff’s investigator and began negotiations to turn himself in.
“He called the sheriff’s office and asked why we were looking for him,” Matheny said. “He talked with one of our investigators and said he was going to turn himself in, but that didn’t happen.”
Officers got word Wednesday morning about where Hodges was hiding. They quietly arrived and surrounded the house, knowing Hodges likes to run when confronted by law enforcement.
“They didn’t leave him anywhere to go, plus White County had a canine with them so running wouldn’t have worked out very well for him,” Matheny said, noting Hodges gave up without incident. “He was smarter than we thought.”
Matheny said there could be more charges coming against him. Hodges is on parole. His sentence is not scheduled to end until late 2018, meaning he owes the state nearly four years.
His run from the law began Jan. 21 when a sheriff’s deputy passed a car driven by Heather Dawn Fralix, 38, and noticed Hodges as a passenger in the vehicle. Deputies knew Hodges was wanted on suspicion and burglary so the lawman turned around the tried to pull over the car.
According to Sheriff Jackie Matheny, the vehicle slowed down but didn’t come to a complete stop. While it was traveling at a slow speed, Hodges popped open the sunroof, climbed through it, and jumped from the car while it was still moving. He was seen running through the residential area next to Warren County High School. His close proximity to the campuses of WCHS and Hickory Creek, combined with his being a convicted felon, prompted a lockdown of both campuses while officers looked for him.
“He has a history of running,” said Sheriff Matheny. “I’ve been sheriff here for 20 years and he’s been in and out of prison the majority of that time. It was about two years ago he escaped from the White County Jail and they found him at a meth lab. He just recently got out of prison and now he’s into this.”