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By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

Two escapees from the Benewah, Idaho, County Jail remain in custody in the Union County jail, accused of robbing the U.S. Bank branch office in Elgin May 6.

Tracy Humphreys, 29, and Paul Kolar, 23, apparently drove from Idaho after allegedly stealing a Subaru station wagon late on May 4.

Less than an hour before the Elgin bank closed that Monday, Kolar reportedly entered the bank and used a shotgun to demand money from the three female bank employees.

Union County District Attorney Russ West refused to reveal the actual amount of cash the two left with, but did say it was more than $1,000 and that most of the money was recovered, either by Elgin citizens who grabbed some of the cash that was dropped in the street or from the money found in a duffel bag in the suspect's car.

Kolar left the bank and apparently got in the car, driven by Humphreys. The two left Elgin heading south on Highway 82, just moments ahead of Elgin Police Chief Dayton Sibley, who pursued them, often at high speeds, to just north of Island City.

The two were arrested at gunpoint by Sibley, Union County sheriff deputies and Oregon State Police when their vehicle went off the highway near Hunter Road.

Arraigned on first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, conspiracy, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless driving charges, among others, the two men are being held on $1 million bail each.

It was originally reported that Humphreys was sought in connection to a possible murder in Western Oregon, but that information was incorrect, Union County District Attorney Russ West said.

West is still having conferences with the U.S. Attorney General's Office to finalize in which court venue the charges will be handled. In the meantime, Idaho had put a legal hold on the two men for their activities there.

According to reports from St. Maries, Idaho, the two escaped after being left alone in the Benewah County inmate recreation room for an extended number of hours. They used a piece from a lightbulb to dig into the wall of the 80-year-old jail, then tied strips of bedsheets together to lower themselves to the street.

The escape made headlines in the St. Maries' Gazette Record newspaper, along with the follow-up story that a deputy who had been assigned to guard the two hadn't followed jail policy and that, following their escape and arrest after the bank robbery, the deputy resigned.

Reach T.L. Petersen at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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