Police seek driver involved in Hilo inmate escape

Mary Lolita Santos
Mary Lolita Santos

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a woman who escaped from a minimum security jail Tuesday (January 14).

At 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, 40-year-old Mary Lolita Santos of Mountain View was charged with second-degree escape. Her bail was set at $10,000. She is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending her initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (January 15).

At about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the Hale Nani Correctional Facility off Route 11 in Hilo after receiving a report from correctional officers that at about 9:40 a.m., a female inmate scaled a fence and fled on foot. After running along Route 11 and into the Puna-bound traffic lanes, she stopped a blue van and jumped into the passenger side window. State correctional officers were able to prevent the van from leaving until they took Santos into custody. The van then left the area.

Detectives still want to interview the van's driver, who was described as an older Filipino man. He was operating a blue Honda Odyssey van that may have been a taxi, as it was described as having the letters "PUC" on its exterior.

Police ask anyone who was traveling on Route 11 and may have witnessed this incident or may know the identity of the driver to call Detective Norbert Serrao of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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