May 3, 2006 – After a patient at the Juan F. Luis hospital stole an ambulance and took it for a wild ride, the vehicle is back, only a little worse for the wear. And no one was injured.
The 2004 model ambulance, one of the newest in the St. Croix fleet, sustained damages to the hood, front fender and right side, according to a release from the Health Department. But the vehicle is still operable.
After being driven through parking lots, colliding with other vehicles and being assaulted with remote-control stop sticks (spikes placed in the road to pierce the tires) the ambulance finally came to a stop on the East Airport Road. The release did not say what caused the vehicle to finally come to a stop after a reportedly hour-long chase, which had three police cars in pursuit through Lorraine Village, Christiansted and Frederiksted before the driver was apprehended at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
The release said along with the vehicles struck by the ambulance, others had their tires damaged when the driver "did not heed a police warning to slow down while officers attempted to remove the stop sticks in the road." The three police vehicles were reportedly damaged during the chase.
Health Commissioner Darlene Carty was quoted as saying, "The driver of the stolen ambulance dodged and weaved through traffic, and in one instance drove it through a parking lot of a grocery store." She said it was fortunate that no one was injured. "We assume that most people believed it was a legitimate call and did what they are supposed to do, which is yield to the emergency vehicle, and we're fortunate that they took heed."
Neither the name nor the nature of the patient's illness were disclosed in the release.
The incident took place sometime late Tuesday night.
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