VERNAL, UT (ABC 4 News) - Two inmates serving in the Uintah County jail have escaped.
Police have named the first escapee as Dallas Ephraim Derrick, 31, from Logan. Derrick is Caucasian, 5 feet 9, inches tall, 170 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes
The second escapee is Jason Max Braham, 21, from Ogden. Jason is Caucasian, also 5 feet, 9 inches tall, 145 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.
Both men face one count of prison escape, a second degree felony and damaging a jail, a third degree felony.
"I think it was planned," says Sheriff Jeff Merrill. "The two of them devised this."
The furnace room at the jail is off limits to inmates.
But early this morning two prisoners managed to unlock a door from the laundry room and get into a maintence room.
"The maintence room is not alarmed or videotaped which gave them an opportunity to breakout through the vent," says Sheriff Jeff Merrill.
And once inside the furnace room they found an opening through the air duct.
"And they pulled the metal screen out," he says.
The opening was big enough for the two to escape.
Sheriff Merrill says they were sent to his jail because they are low risk inmates. At the jail he says Derrick and Braham were working in the laundry room. It requires that they work overnight.
At around two p.m. the sheriff says a deputy noticed there was only one inmate in the laundry room. Derrick and Braham were gone. The sheriff says the third inmate was not involved.
Surveillance video showed that the inmates left the jail close to one a.m.
Once outside they fled to a nearby neighborhood and are believed to have stolen an SUV.
The owner of the SUV reported his 1996 green GMC Yukon missing.
"He left the keys in it and it had a full tank of gas," the sheriff says.
The Yukon has a ski Utah license plate with the number 612MPM.
"There hasn't been a trace of them yet," he says. "We have notified family and friends in northern Utah where they once resided."
Meanwhile, a former inmate is shocked that anyone could escape. She says the jail is very secure.
"Once you get out in the recreation area there's a chain linked wire fence. I'm just amazed that someone escaped from the jail," says Autum James
Authorities say the escape route isn't a flaw but an oversight.
"This is a secure jail," the sheriff says. "We are checking every unsecured door to make sure they are changed."
Derrick is serving a sentence for second-degree burglary, third-degree felony theft, third-degree felony possession/use of a controlled substance. Third-degree felony to stop/respond at the command of police, and class A misdemeanor child abuse.
Braham is serving a sentence for second-degree felony burglary, six counts. Second-degree felony theft. Third-degree felony theft, two counts. Third-degree felony burglary, and class B misdemeanor theft.
The details of the escape are still being investigated and a man hunt is underway.
The police ask anyone to call 911 if you see these individuals or have any information regarding their whereabouts.
-------------Information provided by Utah Department of Corrections