San Francisco ambulance theft leads to multi-county police chase
EMS providers were tending to a patient when they noticed the vehicle was missing
By Ariana Bindman
SFGate, San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — California Highway Patrol officials went on a wild, dangerous chase throughout multiple Bay Area counties on Monday night after an ambulance was reportedly stolen from San Francisco's Outer Sunset.
Around 6:45 that evening, paramedics near 47th and Irving were responding to a patient when they noticed that their ambulance was missing. While it was unoccupied, an unidentified suspect reportedly stole it and evaded Taraval Station police, successfully driving it onto I-280. From there, they took it on a joyride through San Mateo and Alameda counties before finally dumping it in Oakland, San Francisco Fire Department officials wrote on Facebook.
"This unprovoked act is alarming and endangered not only this patient and the crews but also countless emergencies that this crew won't be able to respond to now," SFFD officials wrote. "More information on how the ambulance was taken will come as the investigation continues."
The pursuit was treacherous due to "the driver's disregard for other vehicles and pedestrians on city streets," officials continued in Monday's post. Multiple agencies eventually located the abandoned ambulance on E. 12th Street and 17th Avenue in Oakland using its GPS. Capt. Jonathan Baxter, an SFFD public information officer, told SFGATE via email that the suspect is unidentified and not in custody.
According to CHP representatives, such instances are uncommon, but not unheard of.
"It's somewhat rare. But it has happened before, I believe," CHP public information officer Mark Andrews told SFGATE. "Within the last several years, I think there have been one or two others."
In 2016, police pursued a stolen ambulance that drove onto the Bay Bridge before crashing and erupting in a fiery blaze at Treasure Island, Bay City News reported. The incident shut down the eastbound lanes of the Treasure Island off-ramp for nearly two hours, causing delays on the Bay Bridge and nearby roadways.
Bay City News contributed to this report.
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