The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, officers with the Madison Police Department and Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputies wearing ballistic vests and helmets all converged on a wanted man Tuesday night using the sheriff’s office “heavy rescue vehicle” at the Pilot Truck Stop.
According to Chief Deputy Keith Howard, the reinforced presence of officers and equipment, including an armored Humvee, were utilized to arrest and detain a man wanted for allegedly taking shots at three Crawford County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Virgil Ludlum, 54, Fort Valley, was taken into custody without incident.
Howard said Morgan County officials received a call from the U.S. Marshals Service alerting them that Ludlum and a tractor trailer truck he was driving had been tracked to the truck stop on Eatonton Highway.
“Using electronic investigative techniques, the U.S. Marshals Service found his truck at the Pilot Truck Stop,” Howard said.
At approximately 9 p.m., officers rushed the rear parking lot at the Pilot Truck Stop in both the heavy vehicle and the Humvee and staged the heavy vehicle in front of the tractor trailer to prevent Ludlum from driving away.
“Our heavy rescue vehicle was large enough to prevent his truck from leaving,” Howard said.
Ludlum peeked out of the curtains of his truck, Howard said, and surrendered.
Howard said on Saturday in Fort Valley, three Crawford County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to Ludlum’s residence in response to a domestic argument and mental health check. Once there, Howard said, Ludlum allegedly ordered the deputies off his property. As the deputies were leaving, he said, they heard what sounded like rifle shots. A warrant for three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer were obtained for Ludlum.
On Wednesday, Ludlum was transported from the Morgan County Detention Center to Crawford County.
Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley said the heavy rescue vehicle was an integral part of bringing the tense situation to resolution.
“Keeping our officers safe is our number one priority,” he said. “It’s an overwhelming piece of equipment that people don’t want to challenge. This is an example of an appropriate use.”