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Police still searching for escapees who left prison guard injured

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 4:42 p.m. HST, Dec 5, 2012

Hawaii County police are looking for two inmates following a brazen escape from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo where a corrections officer was left seriously injured.

Shortly before 10 a.m., the two inmates overpowered and assaulted a corrections officer in the facility library, threatened the librarian, took her keys, forced their way out of the building, got into the librarian's car and drove off, said state Public Safety Director Ted Sakai.

They were identified as Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar and Jarvis Higa.

They were last seen in the Sunrise Ridge subdivision. Police are warning motorists to be wary of the two, who may be trying to hitchhike to the Kona side. 

Sakai said the two men are considered dangerous.

Jeffries-Hamar, 31, is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 165 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Higa, 35, is described as Japanese, 5-foot-6, 160 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He has tattoos on his arms and chest.

Both were barefoot and wearing gray sweatpants and white t-shirts, police said.

The librarian's vehicle was ditched at Sunrise Ridge, where they took off on foot, police said. They were last seen near Alahenui Street and Kaumana Drive.

The corrections officer was sent to Hilo Hospital with undisclosed "serious" injuries while counseling is being made available to the librarian, who sustained no physical injuries, Sakai said. The corrections officer's injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Public safety officials are reviewing the escape and any security breaches that need to be fixed, he said.

There were traffic delays in the area of the Puainako Extension and Komohana Street in connection with the escapes.

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