Medic hits panic button as client tries to steal ambulance

When police arrived, Datrielle Y. Wright, 29, was sitting in the driver's seat of the ambulance, gripping the steering wheel and refusing orders to come out


Steven Henshaw
Reading Eagle, Pa.

TULPEHOCKEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Pottstown woman nearly hijacked an ambulance that was called to Adult & Teen Challenge addiction recovery center in northwestern Berks County, where she was a client, forcing a medic to hit the panic botton for police to respond, authorities said Monday.

When police arrived at the center on Teen Challenge Road in Tulpehocken Township on Friday night, Datrielle Y. Wright, 29, was sitting in the driver's seat of the Bethel Community Ambulance truck, tightly gripping the steering wheel with both hands and refusing orders to come out, police said.

According to police:

Township police Officer Bryan Dronick climbed into the passenger side and loosened Wright's right hand from the wheel, while Bethel police Officer Todd Szkwarek loosened her left hand from the wheel. After a struggle, they handcuffed Wright and ordered her to get into the back of a police car, but she refused.

Wright had to be physically placed in the squad car. Bethel medic Jeffrey Ringler climbed into the back of the car from the right side to help pull her in, but Wright kicked him in the legs before the door on the driver's side could be closed.

Wright was secured in the back of the vehicle, and police spoke to the ambulance crew and staff.

The crew said they responded to an emergency call from the center about 7:15 p.m. for a female who was uncooperative and grabbing at staff.

Wright was combative and aggressive toward the ambulance crew when it arrived. She opened up the passenger door of the ambulance, which was idling in park, and got in. She slid over to the driver's seat and tried to put the transmission into drive. Ringler got in from the passenger side and stopped her.

Wright fought with the medic as he tried to get the key out of the ignition and continued to try to put the vehicle into gear.

Ringler, fearing his life and other crew members were in danger, hit the ambulance panic button.

The events were captured on the ambulance's dash camera.

Wright was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail following arraignment Saturday morning before District Judge Gail M. Greth in Reading Central Court.

Wright faces several charges, including attempted robbery of a motor vehicle, theft by unlawful taking and resisting arrest.

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©2019 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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