Daily Mountain Eagle
A Jasper police officer recently injured in a foot chase with a suspect is back on the job.
Detective Sgt. Scottie Wilkins said he suffered tears of his medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his right knee during the Aug. 10 foot chase through a wooded area near 20th Avenue in Jasper. Wilkins said his injuries would not require surgery.
"As long as I take care of myself, they won't have to do surgery," he said. "I'm happy about that."
Wilkins said he is officially on "light duty" until Sept. 1.
"I'm hoping the doctor will clear me then," he said.
Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said the injury hasn't slowed Wilkins.
"Scottie is one of those officers who is involved in several aspects of the department," she said. "He has been able to assist other officers in-house during his brief downtime."
Rowe said the entire department was relieved Wilkins' injuries were not as severe as they could have been.
"I'm glad he wasn't hurt significantly on both a personal and professional level," she said. "I'd miss him and this department would miss him if he were to be absent for any significant period of time."
The suspect Wilkins was chasing on Aug. 10 was identified as 25-year-old Billy Jack Abel of Jasper. He was able to get away from police that day but turned himself in two days later and was identified by Wilkins.
Abel was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer and attempting to elude, which are both felonies. Abel had bonded out of the Walker County Jail on other felony charges only six days before the incident with Wilkins. He is now being held in the Walker County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.