The man took the Chevy Impala around 1:10 p.m. and sped off west on Interstate 40.
Officers said they chased the vehicle from Orange County into Alamance County where it crashed into the back of a box truck.
The inmate was taken into custody.
He has minor injuries, but the driver of the truck was not hurt.
Officials identified the inmate as 46-year-old Farley L. Bernard.
Correction officials say he was undergoing a medical procedure when he made a run for it, first fleeing on foot inside UNC hospitals.
Once outside, he encountered a campus police officer who was responding to the emergency call and tried to get him to surrender, but Bernard slipped by and eased into the driver seat of her squad car with the keys still inside.
According to Department of Correction documents, Bernard has a long criminal history that includes kidnapping, robbery, and theft. He was also convicted of taking part in another high speed chase in May, 2006.
The that incident a frightened driver called 911 when Bernard forced her off the road and out of the driver's seat of her vehicle. The woman escaped and Bernard was arrested after a high speed chase ended near downtown Raleigh.
After Tuesday's chase, Bernard will likely add more charges to his rap sheet that includes kidnapping, robbery and theft convictions.
Meanwhile, Bernard is not the only one in potential hot water --at least two armed corrections officers were with him at UNC Hospitals when he made a run for it. They are now under review.