Man steals ambulance after emergency call

Staff WriterApril 2, 2011 

— A man being treated by Orange County emergency medical personnel stole an ambulance Friday morning and drove around his neighborhood, hitting five parked vehicles, including a Chapel Hill firetruck.

An EMS crew had responded to Deerwood Court after the man had a seizure and somehow cut his face. Orange County EMS director Frank Montes de Oca said five or six EMS and Chapel Hill Fire Department personnel tried to calm him, but he was very aggressive.

"We couldn't subdue him," Montes de Oca said. "There was a lot of chaos going on."

The man ran out of the house and took the ambulance. Both the ambulance and the firetruck were idling to ensure a quick departure as is common practice, Montes de Oca said.

The man crashed the vehicle at the end of Emery Drive and fled on foot before being caught by Chapel Hill Police, said Montes de Oca.

He was transported to UNC Hospitals, and criminal charges are pending.

Chapel Hill Police Capt. Jeff Clark said that the ambulance suffered severe front-end damage and that one of the vehicles it struck was a total loss. He couldn't estimate the dollar value of the damage.

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or 919-932-8760

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