Inmate in orange escapes vehicle, caught in city

An inmate who crawled out the window of a Department of Corrections vehicle might go to prison.

A shackled inmate who crawled out the window of a Department of Corrections vehicle in the middle of Oak Harbor last month is facing possible prison time, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged 24-year-old Oak Harbor resident Max H. Rollag in Island County Superior Court Aug. 25 with escape in the first degree.

A judge set Rollag’s bail at $10,000 at a Sept. 5 hearing.

If convicted of the escape charge, Rollag could face 12 to 14 months in prison under the standard sentencing range. In addition, the Department of Corrections is recommending that the court revoke his mental health sentencing alternative from an earlier robbery case.

According to the police report on the recent case, officers received a report from a citizen on Aug. 8 that a man in an orange jumpsuit jumped out of the window of an SUV on Highway 20 in the area of Southwest Bayshore Drive.

Officers responding to the scene contacted two state Department of Corrections officers who said they had been transporting Rollag in the SUV to the prison in Monroe on a detainer. They explained that they had rolled down a side window after he started kicking it. He then crawled out the window and ran to the construction area across from Walmart, a police report states.

Rollag was wearing orange jail clothing and was cuffed to a waist chain when he escaped, the report states.

Officers from the Oak Harbor Police Department and deputies from the Island County Sheriff’s Office formed a perimeter in the neighborhood and contacted residents, telling them to keep their doors locked and call 911 if they saw the escapee.

An officer deployed a drone for aerial observation. Shortly afterward, an officer spotted Rollag pop his head up from bushes. Officers closed in on him, but he stood up and ran through the brush toward Highway 20, the report states.

Deputies arrested Rollag as he ran onto the highway.

The police report states that Rollag was being transported to prison on a warrant for escaping community custody.

A year ago, Rollag was arrested for trying to rob a stranger at knifepoint in Oak Harbor. A pre-sentence investigation revealed that Rollag suffers from mental health and substance abuse problems. He grew up in an unstable environment, witnessed violence and was sent to a group home for children when he was just 6 years old, the court document states. He was homeless and using drugs when he committed the robbery.

As a result, Rollag pleaded guilty to robbery in the second degree under a mental health sentencing alternative, which is a special program under which an offender agrees to be supervised by the Department of Corrections in the community, usually while undergoing mental health treatment.

The Department of Corrections, however, reported that Rollag violated the terms of his sentence by ending his mental health treatment when he had a serious foot injury and escaping from the vehicle. If his mental health sentencing alternative is revoked, he could face additional time for the crime.