Video: Man steals ambulance, but joyride ends quickly

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ELYRIA, Ohio-  A man steals an ambulance from outside a hospital emergency room, taking it on a short joyride before ditching it a few miles away.  Part of the trip is captured by a dash mounted camera.

Just before 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, two ambulances were parked in the emergency room area at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.

"A gentleman walked up, he went in one ambulance, actually sat in the driver's seat and realized there was a paramedic sitting in the passenger seat, ran out of it, jumped into another ambulance, who had just dropped off a patient, and took it for a ride," said Herb de la Porte, vice president of Lifecare Ambulance, Inc.

The ambulance is equipped with a camera that shows the view from the front windshield as well as the interior.

"I'm always flabbergasted with the stupidity of some people when it comes to stuff like this, you know; why would you possibly steal an ambulance? When you do that, it's no longer useable for anything else. You can't use it to save a life or do whatever you need to do as an ambulance," said de la Porte.

Lifecare officials said the paramedic who was in the original ambulance the suspect tried to steal, notified her partner and started following the vehicle, notifying police of its every move.

"They had just unloaded a patient, so the doors were still open. Everything was open in the back; everything was open up front and the vehicle was running," said de la Porte.

He said the doors are often left open and the engine left running because the paramedics' first concern is getting the patient into the ER.

"You can't necessarily shut the engine down because you use so much electricity in the process of the call, that you may not be able to start it again afterwards," he said.

Elyria police said once the suspect realized he was being followed, he ditched the ambulance on Taylor Street near Elyria's border with North Ridgeville and took off before police could get there.

Lifecare officials said the suspect was behind the wheel for about three minutes.  They said there is little damage to the vehicle and it is back in service.

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