Murder suspect arrested after “Dukes of Hazzard” pursuit

Published 2:42 pm Friday, September 15, 2017


(This story has been updated Sept. 18, Sept. 15)


After a two-day search, a “Dukes of Hazzard” vehicle pursuit and a three-hour manhunt, authorities arrested alleged murder suspect Dustin Wade Martin on Sept. 15 a little after midnight.

According to the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, Martin is in custody at the Chilton County jail, and is charged with “murder-non-family other weapon” with a $135,000 bond, auto theft with a $15,000 bond and arson-residence with a $60,000 bond.

Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon said a tracking team with dogs located Martin on a barn roof at a property on County Road 2, where he appeared to be sleeping.

Martin had been spotted hours prior in Montevallo, driving a newly spray-painted stolen Nissan Versa. The white, once blue, vehicle had momentarily thrown authorities off the suspect’s trail.

Once the suspect had been detected, a car chase commenced.

“He basically tried to do a Dukes of Hazzard last night on County Road 2, and jumped the creek where the bridge was out, and didn’t quite make it,” Shearon said of Martin.

Shearon said Martin then fled the scene, and the CCSO recruited a tracking team from Bibb State Prison.

Officers from Bibb and Chilton counties, police departments of Jemison, Maplesville, Calera, Pelham, Tuscaloosa and Montevallo, State Bureau of Investigation and Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted in establishing a perimeter.

Once found, Martin complied to the arrest without resistance and was booked in the Chilton County jail around 3 a.m. on Sept. 15, Shearon said.

Authorities believe Martin is connected to a residential structure fire near county roads 781 and 203 that killed one person on Sept. 13.

The case is being treated as a homicide, but investigation conducted by the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office and CCSO’s Investigation Team is still under way.

Assistant Chief Deputy Mayfield said an autopsy was conducted on the victim around 8 a.m. on Sept. 14 in an effort to determine identity and cause of death.

The victim has officially been identified as 46-year-old Carol Rena Daniel.

Shearon said after the fire on Sept. 13, Martin fled the area, only to be spotted around 10:15 a.m. at Fred’s Super Dollar store in Montevallo.

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office released an image depicting Martin in a stolen blue Nissan Versa with a handicap tag, urging Chilton and Shelby counties residents to keep an eye out for Martin and report directly to the CCSO any known information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts.

Around 8:40 p.m. on Sept. 14, a CCSO Facebook post urged extreme caution to residents near Chilton County roads 2 and 73, stating, “This is a serious warning. Lock your doors and secure your vehicles. Call 911 if you see anything suspicious. We have a dog team on the way.”

CCSO thanks everyone who contributed to apprehending Martin.

In press release on Sept. 15, CCSO said, “This is still an ongoing investigation, and we ask that anyone having any information about this case or having any contact with Martin since this case occurred to contact the sheriff’s office or the state fire marshal’s office. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Daniel’s family.”