WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Sylvester Young had been a DC Correctional Officer for nearly 22 years without injury.
His assignments included tours in the Oak Hill maximum prison for youth in Laurel, Maryland. More recently he was working midnights, patrolling a wing of the new maximum security facility named "New Beginnings" in Laurel.
The cells are gone and inmates are now housed in their own rooms, but the youth assigned to New Beginnings are still among the most violent in the District's Youth Rehabilitative Services System. Their crimes include robberies, armed assaults and murders.
It was at New Beginnings on Monday night that Officer Sylvester Young was attacked, punched repeatedly from behind, then choked into unconsciousness by an inmate during an escape.
"Another kid sucker punched me, choked me, and I must've blanked out after that," Young says.
Young received fractures to his face and will need surgery.
Young says during the attack, "I couldn't even get a chance to yell out, wasn't nobody really around me to do that. We only had one man on the other side of the unit."
The inmate broke out of New Beginnings using Young's security card and then a ladder found in the yard near the razor wire fence.
After dropping down to the outside of the facility, the inmate made good his escape using Sylvester Young's car.
The vehicle was located late Monday. The inmate was still at large.
Young is home recovering with his wife. The veteran Correctional Officer tells 9NEWS NOW that New Beginnings needs more officers on patrol, and they need to fix the doors to inmates' rooms so they can stay locked in. His wife says, "He could have been killed."