Georgia fugitives arrested after chase near I-24 in Rutherford County

Photo: Melissa Dawn Curran

(Update 8:30 p.m.) According to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, the inmates ran for around 15 to 20 minutes before they surrendered near I-24 in Rutherford County on Thursday night.

Tennessee law enforcement said the fugitives fired at law enforcement during the chase, but deputies did not return fire. The chase ended when they crashed near Pruitt Road.

Nelly Miles with the GBI reports that the inmates held a Shelbyville couple captive in their home for an undisclosed amount of time. Rowe and Dubose then stole the couple's car and a chase with authorities ensued. The inmates crashed the stolen car on I-24 and ran into nearby woods.

Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose are now en route to the Rutherford County Jail and will be extradited back to Georgia.

"They're coming back as soon as possible," Sills said.

There was gun fire during the apprehension, but Sills said he isn't yet sure if the inmates or authorities fired. No one was injured.

"I don't look good, but trust me I feel good," Sills said.

Sills again extended his condolences to the fallen officers' families and to the couple that was help captive in Tennessee.

"The burden of danger is off and that is the greatest relief we have," Sills said.

According to the GBI, Rowe is from Lewisburg, Tenn, about 40 miles from Rutherford County.

Sills said they have already begun preparing for a trial.

Authorities say Rowe and Dubose shot and killed officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica on Highway 16 between Putnam and Sparta.

Evidence shows that the two ransacked a home in Madison, Ga. the same day. They were believed to be traveling in a white 2008 Ford F-250 with GA tag BCX 3572.

A reward of $130,0000 was offered for information leading to their arrests.


The US Marshals Service said two escaped convicts on the run from Georgia were caught near I-24 in Rutherford County.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose were captured Thursday night. The Tennessee Department of Safety said they were caught in Rutherford County, and the sheriff's department is the lead agency.

Rowe and Dubose are accused of killing two prison guards to escape from a Georgia prison transport earlier this week.

The AP reports GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles says police in Shelbyville, Tennessee, got a call about a home invasion Thursday. She says Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose held an elderly couple captive and then fled in the couple's vehicle.

Police responded and started chasing the pair. Miles says the inmates got in a wreck, left the vehicle and then led police on a foot chase.

She says both men were taken into custody in Christiana, Tennessee.

According to THP, I-24 Eastbound is shut down near Buchanan Road in Rutherford County with traffic backed up more than 10 miles.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, TBI, THP and Rutherford County Sheriff's Department responded to the incident. Coffee County deputies were also on-scene to assist with the arrest.

According to the Associated Press, Rowe, 43, has been serving life without parole since 2002, and Dubose, 24, began a 20-year sentence in 2015. Both were convicted of armed robbery and other violent crimes, and they've been cellmates more than once in Georgia's prisons.

The GBI confirmed with Fox 17 that Rowe is from Lewisburg, Tenn.

Monica, 42, and Billue, 58, were both transfer sergeants at Baldwin State Prison. Monica had been with the Georgia Department of Corrections since October 2009 and Billue since July 2007.

A Georgia sheriff told the Associated Press that the two men overpowered and disarmed the guards about 6:45 a.m. as 33 inmates were being driven between prisons. One of them fatally shot both guards, and then they jumped out of the bus and carjacked a driver who happened to pull up behind them on a rural highway.

Fox 17 News has a crew headed to Rutherford County. This is a breaking news situation and will be updated with the latest information available.

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