The dangerous teenager who’s been on the run from law enforcement for nearly a month was captured on Thursday night in Oak Grove, Kentucky, according to Clarksville officials.
Tai Harrell, 16, escaped a juvenile detention facility in Rutherford County on April 11. He was being held there for Montgomery County, which does not have an appropriate facility to house teenage crime suspects.
After his escape, Harrell allegedly stole a pick-up truck nearby that had an unsecured, loaded weapon inside. The carjacking was caught on surveillance camera, but Harrell somehow managed to disappear without a trace.
The truck was later found abandoned at an apartment complex.
“Tai Harrell’s capture has been a priority since his escape. Resources from patrol, detective, special operations, traffic, and dispatch have all had been involved in the efforts to track Harrell down,” explains Clarksville Police Dept. Public Information Officer Jim Knoll. “Each sighting or rumored location of Harrell was checked out or investigated. There was more than one occasion when a tip came in, officers surrounded a location, and came up empty handed since he was not there or had already left.”
CPD was not alone in the search for Harrell, they were also assisted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Grove Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
According to Knoll, Harrell’s ability to continue evading officers was “by taking money or items from unlocked vehicles and stealing vehicles which were either left running or unlocked with keys left inside.”
“There were occasions when he was spotted driving a vehicle but, due to his known total disregard for safety and displayed reckless behavior, police chose not to pursue the vehicle and further endanger the public,” Knoll said.
Harrell had a long history with the Clarksville Police Dept., before his arrest in April, he was considered an “endangered runaway” who had been missing since August 2018.
Officers surveilling Harrell were finally able to spot Harrell’s vehicle and covertly follow him to a home on Tyler Street in Oak Grove. Oak Grove police were allowed into the residence where the found Harrell hiding in a closet. He was taken into custody without incident.
Officials say Harrell is currently facing 26 juvenile petitions but more charges are possible. Other people who harbored or assisted Harrell during his escape will also be charged.
Harrell is expected in court on May 21 in Hopkinsville, Ky.
Police said the gun that was inside the stolen pickup truck has not been recovered at this time.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 for updates.