Pa. woman steals, crashes ambulance

The cops spun out the out of control ambulance at the start of the famous Giants Despair Hillclimb car race

By Steve Mocarsky
The Times-Leader 

LAUREL RUN, Pa.  — A young female was taken into custody today after she allegedly stole an ambulance in Nanticoke, struck a vehicle on Interstate 81 and eventually crashed on Giants Despair in Laurel Run.

Wilkes-Barre Township Patrolman Robert Capparell said at the crash site in Laurel Run that the ambulance was running and unattended in Nanticoke when the female hopped in and took off with the emergency vehicle.

He did not yet have her name or age available, nor any apparent motive.

Capparell said the suspect got on Route 29 and then on Interstate 81 north, where she struck another vehicle. State police are investigating that accident, and Capparell said at the time that he didn’t know if the occupants of the vehicle that was struck were injured.

A Wilkes-Barre Township officer spotted the ambulance on Route 309 and unsuccessfully tried to initiate a traffic stop.

“Then on East Northampton Street, she almost rammed another cruiser,” Capparell said.

Capparell pursued the suspect east on East Northampton Street and the driver struck Capparell’s cruiser near the border between Wilkes-Barre Township and Laurel Run, where the start of the famous Giants Despair Hillclimb car race is staged annually.

“As we were pursuing her, she ended up striking one of our vehicles and we had to stop her,” he said.

About 100 yards up the hill, Capparell said, he initiated a “precision interception technique” in an attempt to stop the ambulance, and the ambulance “spun out” and stopped facing west on the north side of the road in a ditch against an embankment.

“She was trying to drive away. Once she realized the van wasn’t going anywhere, she got out and put her hands up,” Capparell said.

Capparell said township police were questioning the female at the police station.


©2015 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

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