Escaped Limestone County work-release inmate back in custody; injured in Florence high-speed chase

The sheriff's office said he stole a motorcycle

Posted: Aug 18, 2021 9:40 AM
Updated: Aug 18, 2021 11:04 AM

The Limestone County Sheriff's Office says Joel Dwight Gooch, a work-release inmate who escaped on Tuesday, is back in custody.

Gooch was captured Tuesday night by the Florence Police Department and is now in the hospital after starting and being injured in a high-speed chase.

About 8:57 p.m., Florence Police Department patrol officers saw the black Kawasaki motorcycle Gooch is accused of stealing from his work assignment in the area.

Officers began a pursuit and said speeds exceeded 100 mph on Florence Boulevard.

The chase ended when the motorcycle left the road and hit a stone wall. Gooch was ejected.

He received multiple injuries and was transported by air ambulance to Huntsville Hospital, Florence police said.

On Tuesday, Acting Limestone County Sheriff Mike West said 35-year-old Gooch showed up to work at Vulcan Plastics on Durham Drive in Athens but then left about 8:30 a.m. on a black Kawasaki motorcycle belonging to another employee. 

The sheriff's office said Gooch is serving a sentence for child support.

Florence police said additional charges are expected.

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