Man arrested after foot chase

Published 4:16 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Mt. Hermon man was arrested Friday after briefly breaking away from law enforcement officers and leading them on a foot chase, according to Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Haley said that Eric Fortenberry, 49, of Crystal Springs Road in Mt. Hermon, was being held with no bond for charges of simple arson, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, battery on a police officer, resisting a police officer, three counts of theft, burglary, two counts of criminal trespass and being a fugitive from another jurisdiction.

Fortenberry’s arrest by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office was the result of a joint investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal into several thefts, burglaries and fires in the Pleasant Hill Road, R.J. Riley Road and Highway 1056 areas, Haley said.

“As WPSO officers were attempting to arrest Fortenberry, he managed to break loose and flee with one handcuff attached to his wrist,” Haley said. “Officers from several agencies responded to help in the search for Fortenberry, including Rayburn Correctional Center Canine Team, Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole and Louisiana State Police. Fortenberry was located and taken into custody a short while later.”

Haley said that Fortenberry’s Friday arrest is his seventh since 2007. His arrest record includes charges of vehicle theft, possession of illegal drugs, burglary, criminal damage to property, criminal trespass and probation violation.

Sheriff Randy Seal thanked all who assisted in the search for Fortenberry.

“Our law enforcement partners from Rayburn Correctional Center, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole and Louisiana State Police always stand ready to assist at any time we need them,” Seal said. “We are so grateful for all they do for the citizens of Washington Parish. It seems Mr. Fortenberry is determined to spend time behind bars, which is exactly where he belongs.

“I am so grateful for all of the hard work devoted to identifying and arresting Eric Fortenberry.”