Two DeKalb County fire paramedics escaped serious injury Saturday when they were taken on a wild, high speed ride in the back of a stolen ambulance that eventually crashed into a chiropractor’s office near Decatur.
The paramedics had just dropped a patient off at Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road shortly before 2 p.m. and were in the back of the ambulance completing their paperwork when “a patient came out of the hospital, dressed in a gown and rubber gloves, jumped in the front seat, locked the doors and took off in the unit,” DeKalb fire Battalion Chief Christopher Morrison Jr. told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The suspect drove the stolen ambulance at a high rate of speed for several miles before running off the road in the 1300 block of Church Street, tearing down a utility pole and finally coming to a stop inside a chiropractor’s office.
Morrison said the suspect then jumped from the wrecked ambulance and fled the scene on foot, running through a nearby apartment complex. He remained at large several hours after the incident.
Morrison said the two paramedics were hurt, and were taken to Atlanta Medical Center in stable condition, Morrison said.
He said 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 ambulance was a total loss, according to Morrison, and the chiropractic office sustained substantial damage.
“We have our technical rescue unit here shoring up the building to make sure it is stable before they move the ambulance out,” Morrison said. No one was inside the office when the accident happened, he said.
“You’ve been in this business long enough, nothing surprises you,” Morrison said. “When you think you’ve seen it all, something else happens.”