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Inmate escapes Hawaii jail, then dies after being struck by hit-and-run driver

How common are prison escapes?
How common are prison escapes? 03:29

A man who escaped from a Hawaii jail and was struck by a vehicle soon after died Thursday from his injuries, authorities said. Matthew J. Ornellas Jr. was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run after he fled from Kauai Community Correctional Center just after 1 a.m. last Friday, the Hawaii Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

He scaled a fence with razor wire, and correctional officers gave chase but lost sight of him when he entered a dense brush area, officials said.

Matthew J. Ornellas Jr. Hawai'i Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Soon afterward they heard a loud sound from the road and found him lying next to Kuhio Highway, about 100 yards away from the jail. An ambulance transported him to a hospital, where he remained in serious condition and in custody. His condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead Thursday.

Ornellas, 33, was a minimum-security inmate serving time for a drug conviction, officials said.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it is continuing to investigate the escape.

Orenellas was hit as he was running north in the southbound lane of Kuhio Highway, Kauai police said. Police are searching for the driver, who left the scene before first responders arrived.

Kauai police said they "strongly encourages anyone who may have information about this incident to do the right thing and come forward."

The incident marked the fourth traffic fatality on Kauai so far this year, police said.

A public defender who represented Ornellas for a probation violation declined previously to comment on the escape.

In September, CBS News dug into data from 26 states, which showed over 1,100 documented instances of escapes from law enforcement custody over the past five years.

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