VALDOSTA -- An escaped inmate and his accomplice were apprehended after a high speed car chase Wednesday, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Milton A. Wilson, 27, a Thomas County prison inmate, and his girlfriend, Deanna Duvall, 35, Hickory Grove Road, Valdosta, were arrested after their vehicle lost control during a chase on Highway 84, just inside the Lowndes County line heading toward Valdosta, said Sgt. Lavon Prine, GSP Post 31 commander.

Prine said he was writing a ticket on Highway 84 in Brooks County when he saw one of his troopers headed west on 84. The trooper spotted a white Firebird with a damaged back bumper that belonged to Duvall. GSP had been on lookout for the vehicle.

According to Prine, the trooper turned his vehicle around and began to follow the car. The Firebird turned off on Patrick Road in Brooks County when Wilson, the driver, noticed he was being followed.

When the vehicle returned to Highway 84, it turned right, heading east toward Valdosta, Prine said. The trooper activated his blue lights and siren and started pursuing the vehicle. Prine also joined in the pursuit behind the trooper.

According to reports, Wilson reached a speed of 90 mph trying to elude the pursuing trooper and refused to pull over. The state trooper pulled next to him and bumped Wilson's vehicle on the side. Wilson lost control and spun out of control.

"He crossed the medium and the west 84 lanes going backwards and struck a guard rail," Prine said. "The driver and the passenger were arrested without incident, and no weapons were found. Both were transported to the Lowndes County Jail."

Wilson escaped from a prison work detail at about 8:10 a.m. Wednesday, said Earl Ford, Thomas County Prison warden. He had been an inmate at TCP since May 3 with a sentence time of one year. Wilson's tentative release date was Nov. 3.

According to Ford, Wilson was on a work detail located behind the Hancock Building on Wednesday. He was told to put trash in a dumpster, and he never returned. A corrections officer heard the lid of the dumpster close and after about 30 seconds noticed Wilson had not returned to the vehicle.

When the corrections officer checked the dumpster, he noticed a white T-shirt hanging on a gate close by. Within two minutes of Wilson's escape, the officer had notified Ford. The warden arrived at the location and had his staff advise local law enforcement of the situation.

Duvall's vehicle had been noticed in the parking lot in front of the Family Dollar by witnesses, Ford said. What made witnesses suspicious was that Duvall had gotten out of her car with a white T-shirt across her shoulder and walked to a pay phone close by the gate. When she returned to the vehicle, the shirt was gone and she sat on the passenger side of her car.

According to Ford, prison officials reviewed visitation records and found Duvall had visited Wilson last Saturday and Sunday. They forwarded the vehicle description and tag number to law enforcement officials, aiding in the apprehension of Wilson and Duvall at about 11:20 a.m.

Wilson will receive five years for his escape attempt and additional charges from GSP, Ford said.

Prine said Wilson will also face charges of driving without a license, attempting to elude law enforcement officials and damage to state property (GSP vehicle).

Duvall faces charges of aiding and abetting Wilson in his escape and having no vehicle insurance. Other charges may follow. Both Wilson and Duvall will remain in the Lowndes County Jail until they are arraigned in Thomas County.

To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.

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