ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – If you mention Jack Allen Poteat or John Phillips you’re talking about the same man. And after years of being on the run, carrying multiple identities and different looks, he was nabbed in North Texas.
For the past 11 years, Poteat’s been dodging rape charges out of North Carolina. But he also was wanted for criminal activity in other states. In addition to North Carolina, police in Alabama, Georgia and here in Texas have been chasing him.
Poteat’s freedom ended Tuesday in Rockwall. His life began spiraling downward after an appearance on prime-time TV and ended with a crashed car in a field.
Poteat led police on a short chase that ended in a field near the house of Jim Otto. Otto said, initially, he had no idea he had witnessed an incident with national implications.
“I saw a car, a pickup truck, go by at a high rate of speed,” he recalled. “And I knew he [the driver] wasn’t going to make that curve… and he crashed out there.”
That fleeing driver turned out to be Jack Allen Poteat, whose most egregious charge was for the felony statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Poteat had been masquerading in Texas under the assumed name, John Phillips. “Where that [the assumed name] came from or how long he’s been using that I don’t know,” explained Dallas FBI Agent Mark White. “We’ll try to backtrack and see where he’s been.”
Poteat allegedly skipped out on his North Carolina trial, and the FBI has had him listed as a fugitive since 2000. On Saturday Poteat was featured on the crime show, “America’s Most Wanted,” and a viewer tip led to Tuesday’s arrest.
Over the years Poteat changed his hair, even bleaching it, and occasionally had a beard and mustache. Poteat was even married, and was living with his wife at an undisclosed location in Irving at the time of his arrest.
FBI officials say they closed in on Poteat when he left a relative’s home near Rockwall. A woman answering the phone at that house confirmed Poteat was married to her daughter. The woman told CBS 11 News Poteat was “a good man” and “he was a lifesaver to us.” She said Poteat handled finances for her and her invalid husband. “He’s done nothing outside the law,” she insisted, and said anyone who thinks he’s guilty of a crime “is grossly misinformed,” in her words.
Poteat is currently being treated for injuries related to the crash and will be transferred to North Carolina upon his release.