Offender escapes from Olympic Corrections Center

Hoh River search
Lonnie Archibald photo
The Forks ambulance arrives at the Hoh River Resort while the search is still in progress.  One of the searchers leaves the store in route north along highway 101 and the Hoh River.

James E. Russell, 39, an offender incarcerated at the Olympic Corrections Center (OCC) at Clearwater south of Forks, was apprehended near the Hoh River Resort at about 8:30 a.m. the morning of Wednesday, June 15.

Russell is believed to have runaway from the minimum security corrections facility between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m.the night of Tuesday, June 14, according to report from the state Department of Corrections (DOC). The OCC facility is located over 20 miles along the Hoh Mainline Road from the riverside resort. An investigation into how Russell escaped is underway.

Russell, who was imprisoned out of Lewis County on theft and forgery charges, knocked on a door at the Hoh River Resort early Wednesday morning. He unwittingly knocked on the door of a corrections office who is on staff at OCC. The office attempted to defiant Russell, who was dressed in prison garb, until members of a task force searching for the escapee arrived. However, Russell broke loose and fled, but was later in the morning apprehended near the Hoh River Resort. The resort is made up of a store with gas pumps, cabins and spaces for RVs, and is located about 16 miles south of Forks along Highway 101.

A representative of the DOC said the last escape attempt at OCC was in 2006.

Offenders at the work camp are regularly seen in Forks working on community service programs. They help maintain the grounds at the Forks Visitor Center-Forks Timber Museum complex, paint interiors of local schools, provided construction assistance for the West End Youth League and help out on other community projects. High-quality wood craft items made in the OCC Toy Shop are auctioned at the Quillayute Valley Scholarship Auction, Cherish Our Children Christmas gift fund-raiser and other events. The offenders also work with the state Department of Natural Resources on reforestation and forest fire fighting tasks.
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