Medics Taken On "Wild Ride"
TWO DeKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA, Fire-Rescue medics were parked in the loading bay at the Emory University Hospital in Decatur Saturday afternoon and were in the back of the unit restocking and completing paperwork following a call.
While they were occupied with their work, a hospital patient dressed in a typical hospital gown and wearing latex gloves, hopped in the cab, locked the doors and took off racing down the street. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues the story:
Battalion Chief Christopher Morrison Jr. told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the suspect "knew they were in the unit because he looked through the little window in the back and told them, ‘be quiet and hold on.’"
Morrison said that even though the paramedics, a male and a female firefighter, were caught by surprise and "jostled around," one of them was able to radio the ambulance’s location throughout the incident.
"One of our EMTs used one of our tactical channels, and as they were crossing major streets, he was actually giving a description of the location, so 911 dispatch as well as police officers and firefighters, we could actually hear the locations they were at so in our efforts to find them, it gave us a play-by-play," Morrison said.
The crazed patient drove for several miles at a high rate of speed until he ran off the road, took down a utility pole, smashed through the front porch of a plumbing co. office, and crashed into the front of a chiropractic clinic. The thief then jumped out of the cab, seemingly uninjured, told a bystander that there were two injured people in the ambulance and the ran away.
The firefighters were relatively uninjured but taken to the hospital for evaluation anyway. FD officials say that the ambulance appears to be a total loss and the damage to the building, which was closed at the time, is "extensive."
WXIA-TV posted this cellphone video taken by a passerby:
The culprit evaded capture initially, but a few hours later the police nabbed him. WXIA-TV reports that Frank Ponquinette, 36, ditched his hospital duds after stealing some clothes out of an apartment building laundry room. He then remained free until later that evening when the police caught up with him outside a shopping center.
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