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Mom, stepdad accused of helping inmate son disappear after daring hospital escape

Georgia’s Dougherty County Jail is down one inmate after a man awaiting trial for burglary in one jurisdiction and convicted of violent assault in another overpowered a prison guard during a hospital visit last week – but his mother and stepfather have since taken his place behind bars. 

The search for Carlton Bradford Gillis, 36, is still underway, the Albany Police Department said.

The inmate was incarcerated on charges for burglary, criminal damage to property, interference with government property, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and violation of probation. 

In nearby Terrell County, Gillis faces weapons-related charges, which he was slated to serve after finishing his current prison sentence. Previously, he was convicted for aggravated assault in that county.

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Carlton Bradford Gillis

Carlton Bradford Gillis, 36, escaped Dougherty County Jail custody on Saturday after overpowering a guard during a hospital visit and calling his mother and stepfather – Trudy Sellars and Randy Williams – for a ride.  (Albany Police Department)

Around 10:50 a.m. on Oct. 7, medical staff at the jail determined Gillis needed to be hospitalized. At Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, per a jail press release, the inmate “overpowered the guard and escaped.”

Chief Jailer John Ostrander would not divulge Gillis’ medical emergency, citing privacy laws, but did tell Fox News Digital that the inmate fled the scene wearing his hospital gown.

“I’ve been in this business a long time – I’ve been running this facility for almost 14 years and been in this line of work for over 40 and this is just part of it,” Ostrander told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “I’ve seen eight or so escapees. Generally, we have people back in custody within a few days.” 

As of Wednesday, law enforcement had yet to recover the inmate. But Gillis’ mother Trudy Sellars, 63, and stepfather Randy Doral Williams, 47, turned themselves in to police on charges of aiding and permitting another to escape lawful custody charges, according to Dougherty County Jail records and confirmed by Ostrander. 

Per an incident report detailing the escape obtained from the Albany Police Department, Gillis accrued new felonies for fleeing a police officer, robbery by force and kidnapping in the course of his assisted escape. 

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Trudy Sellars

Trudy Lynne Sellars, 63, faces criminal charges and is behind bars after allegedly assisting her convict son in an escape from a Georgia hospital. However, son Carlton Bradford Gillis still faces a new kidnapping charge after he engaged in a high speed chase with police with Sellars riding along, allegedly against her will. 

Meanwhile, Sellar told police she had not spoken with her son in six months – she “had no clue Gillis had escaped from custody” and picked him up because he “had stated he had been released from the hospital.” 

A passerby reportedly told police searching for the just-escaped inmate that he’d seen a man fitting his description “jump in the rear of a green colored vehicle.” 

Driving in the direction the passerby indicated, police encountered and followed a green Pontiac GTA, per the report. The driver, Williams, began “alternat[ing] his left and right turn signals” as the cops followed – later, he told police he did so “because he did not know what [police] wanted.” 

The driver finally pulled over after police ran their lights and sirens for a period, per the report – driver Williams told police that the man laying in his back seat was his stepson. Sellars was also inside the car at the time – it is unclear whether officers initially noticed her, or whether she was in the front or back seat.

An officer instructed Williams to unlock the back passenger door; Gillis ignored orders to put his hands up, according to police.

Then, per the report, the inmate “moved from the rear of the vehicle to the front, putting his left foot on the gas pedal and putting the vehicle’s gear in drive.” 

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Randy Doral Williams, 47

Stepfather Randy Doral Williams, 47, also faces charges for assisting in Gillis’ escape. He maintained that he began alternating his turn signals when police followed his vehicle, where his convict stepson was laying down in the back seat, because he was “unsure what [officers] wanted.” Gillis allegedly jumped into the front seat and hit the gas with his left foot when police ordered him to surrender, eventually letting Williams out of the vehicle before speeding off. 

Williams reportedly attempted to turn the car off when instructed by officers, but his stepson “forcefully took over the vehicle from Williams using his hands, legs and body,” then “pulled off with Williams still in the driver’s seat.” 

Briefly, the car stopped and Williams jumped out, police said. At 80 miles per hour, the inmate sped east on the Liberty Expressway. Gillis reportedly got off the expressway, then turned into oncoming traffic in an effort to evade police. 

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Gillis overpowered a jail guard then absconded from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, pictured, in his hospital gown on Oct. 7, per Dougherty County Chief Jailer John Ostrander.  (Google Earth)

Due to Gillis’ “recklessness” and “because [Gillis’] mother… was inside the vehicle,” Albany police wrote, they “called for [the pursuit] to be terminated.” 

An unclear amount of time later, the car was found abandoned at the intersection of Nona Drive and Campbell Street with Gillis’ mother still inside. 

Sellars told police that her son took off eastbound through the woods, police said. She “stated she tried to get out” and “told Gillis to stop… but he would not.” 

Meanwhile, Williams was placed in the back of a patrol car and read his Miranda rights, per the report. It is unclear when Sellars was charged. 

Both Sellars and Williams were arraigned in Dougherty County Court on Wednesday, per jail records. It is unclear whether they retained counsel. 

Christina Coulter is a U.S. and World reporter for Fox News Digital. Email story tips to christina.coulter@fox.com.

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