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Thursday, March 28, 2024
Criminal Escapes Kauai Jail, Dead After Run Over by Car 
By News Release @ 5:47 PM :: 2718 Views :: Kauai County, Law Enforcement

ADVISORY - Hawaii DCR Alert - UPDATE - KCCC inmate escapee dies from injuries sustained in alleged hit-and-run

News Release from DCR, 3/28/2024 - 2:11 PM

Inmate Matthew J. Ornellas has died from injuries he sustained in an alleged hit-and-run upon his escape Friday from the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center (KCCC).

“The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) extends its heartfelt condolences to Ornellas’ family and loved ones,” said DCR Director Tommy Johnson.

Ornellas, 33, escaped KCCC by scaling the facility’s outer perimeter fence with razor wire just after 1 a.m. Friday, March 22, 2024.

Correctional officers pursued Ornellas on foot but lost sight of him after he entered a dense brush area. Shortly afterward, correctional officers heard a loud sound from the roadway.

Officers then observed a dark-colored vehicle making a U-turn on Kūhiō Highway, accelerating toward Kapa‘a.

Correctional officers searched for Ornellas along Kūhiō Highway and found him lying next to the roadside ditch with serious injuries.

Kauai police were immediately called. Ornellas was taken by ambulance to Wilcox Medical Center. While at the hospital, his condition deteriorated. Ornellas was pronounced dead earlier today, March 28, 2024.

Ornellas, a minimum custody inmate, was serving time for promoting a dangerous drug in the third-degree, a class C felony.

Police reports have been filed on the escape and hit-and-run.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is continuing its internal investigation into the escape.

  *   *   *   *   *

ADVISORY - Hawaii DCR Alert - KCCC inmate escapee struck by vehicle in alleged hit-and-run

News Release from DCR, 3/22/2024 - 10:38 AM

KAUA'I — Inmate Matthew J. Ornellas Jr. sustained injuries in an alleged hit-and-run shortly after his escape from the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center (KCCC) early Friday, March 22, 2024.

Ornellas, 33, escaped from the facility just after 1 a.m. today. Shortly before 1:10 a.m., correctional officers located him on Kūhiō Highway, approximately 100 yards northeast of KCCC, with serious injuries.

It appeared that a dark-colored vehicle traveling on the highway toward Līhuʻe struck Ornellas. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop to render aid and was last seen making a U-turn toward Kapa‘a.

Officers immediately called 911 and Kauaʻi police arrived at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to the Wilcox Medical Center.

Ornellas is serving time for promoting a dangerous drug in the third-degree, a class C felony.

Police reports have been filed for the escape and alleged hit-and-run.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) has initiated an investigation into the matter, as standard procedure.

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