Authorities said 39-year-old James Edward Russell took off from the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks on Tuesday morning. Just after midnight early Wednesday, Russell - still wearing his prison uniform - went to the cabin, knocked on the door and asked to use the phone, said Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis.
The guard recognized the red, prison-issue shirt, a scuffle ensued and Russell took off again, Lewis said Thursday. The guard, whose name being withheld by the Department of Corrections, reported the incident and Russell was caught later that morning by other corrections officers about from the facility near Forks, on the Olympic Peninsula.
Russell was serving his fourth prison term since 1993 and had been transferred to the minimum security work camp just a day before he ran off, authorities said.
His earliest release date was scheduled for March 2014 - but that could be about to change.
If convicted for the escape, Russell faces at least another year in prison to be served after his current sentence for theft and forgery in Lewis County. And it would most likely be at a higher security facility.
"Assuming he is found guilty of escape, he's not likely to be put in a work camp, because he becomes an escape risk," Lewis said.
Russell has been moved to the Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen and is spending 24 hours a day in his cell as officials investigate the escape, Lewis said.
Jefferson County deputy prosecutor Chris Ashcraft said his office does not yet have the case.
It is unclear whether Russell has an attorney and the inmate was not available for comment on Thursday.