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Fla. woman steals ambulance from hospital

A patient sitting outside a Port St. Lucie hospital got into the ambulance as EMS personnel were inside dropping off a patient


Port St. Lucie Police Department/Facebook

By Madeleine Marr
Miami Herald

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A 25-year-old Miami woman is facing several charges after taking off in an unoccupied ambulance Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

According to a Facebook post from the Port. St. Lucie Police Department, the woman swiped the unoccupied vehicle from the parking lot of HCA Florida around 3 p.m.

A news release says that the suspect, a patient, was sitting outside on a bench in her hospital gown when she “decided” to steal the ambulance as personnel were inside dropping off a patient.

“What it comes down to really is a crime of opportunity,” Port St. Lucie police chief Richard Del Toro told WPBF-25 News. “Unfortunately, they left the keys inside the vehicle.”

The woman got behind the wheel and fled the parking lot and hit the road. But “unbeknownst to her,” the ambulance had a GPS tracker that allowed officers to see its location, authorities say.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers soon found the suspect when the woman became stuck in midday traffic on Florida’s Turnpike going southbound.

As troopers closed in, the driver jumped out of the ambulance and tried to run away. After a short foot pursuit, she was taken into custody. In police photos, she is seen sitting handcuffed on the side of the road.

The Miami woman was arrested and taken to the Martin County Jail, where she was charged with giving false information to police, driving with a suspended license and resisting without violence.

Police Chief Del Toro told WPBF-25 News that this was an unusual case.

“I’ve never heard of somebody stealing an ambulance other than outside a movie,” he said. “Maybe the ‘Fugitive’ or something like that.”

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