An escaped Nebraska inmate was captured Thursday north of Council Bluffs, one day after he overpowered a sheriff's deputy and stole the deputy's car and service weapon, authorities said.

Pottawattamie County sheriff's deputies found Eric G. Scott east of Interstate 29 in a rural area after a resident reported seeing a man walking there who looked like the escaped prisoner.

Sheriff Jefferey Danker said Scott still had a handgun in his possession when deputies apprehended him just after noon.

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Scott managed to break free from his leg irons in the back seat of an unmarked Dodge County government car while a deputy was driving him to the county jail in Fremont, County Attorney Oliver Glass said.

The cruiser did not have a cage, Glass said.

Scott wrapped the 18- to 20-inch shackle chain around the deputy's neck and forced him to pull off U.S. 77 onto a gravel road in Saunders County, said Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz.

"The deputy had the wherewithal to throw (his handgun) out the window," Glass said. "Of course, Eric found it." 

When the car stopped near county roads 14 and H, the inmate got the deputy out and used the deputy's handcuffs to bind him before Scott drove off, Stukenholtz said.

Doctors evaluated the deputy at a hospital, but he mostly had a sore neck, Glass said.

"I’m just glad he didn’t get any more hurt than he did," he said.

Police found the unmarked car around 7 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of Nebraska Furniture Mart in central Omaha.

Dawn-Renee Smith, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, said Scott was picked up at the State Penitentiary in Lincoln on Wednesday and was in Dodge County's custody at the time of the escape.

All prisoners are strip-searched by staff before being taken to court, then turned over to the law enforcement agency to be transported, Smith said. The transporting agency's officers apply their own restraints.

Scott was a month away from finishing a two- to four-year prison sentence for fifth-offense DUI, but faced five new felony charges in Dodge County, including three child sex-assault charges, two of which carry 20-year to life terms.

Scott was set for a preliminary hearing on the charges at 1 p.m. Thursday in Fremont.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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