Cops: Woman stole ambulance from Waffle House before high-speed chase

58-year-old was pursued more than 40 miles before emergency vehicle was disabled
McDonough police were called to a Waffle House on Hampton Road near I-75 after getting reports of a stolen ambulance.

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McDonough police were called to a Waffle House on Hampton Road near I-75 after getting reports of a stolen ambulance.

A 58-year-old woman who was arrested after leading police on a high-speed, multi-county chase in a stolen ambulance Tuesday is accused of taking the vehicle from the parking lot of a Waffle House in McDonough, authorities said.

The incident began just before 1:15 a.m. when an ambulance was called to the Waffle House on Hampton Road near the intersection with Avalon Parkway, according to a report shared by McDonough police. As the ambulance crew arrived and were preparing to treat their patient, a woman approached them and said she needed an ambulance herself.

The paramedics told the woman, later identified as Andrea Bryant, they needed to treat someone else and they would call her a second ambulance. They then went inside the restaurant to attend to the patient, but Bryant got into their ambulance and drove away, the report said. Security cameras captured video that corroborated the emergency medical crew’s accounts.

The Waffle House is in a busy commercial area just south of I-75. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Bryant drove the vehicle south on I-75 all the way to the I-475 split, about 40 miles. During the chase, the sheriff’s office said she was driving 86 to 88 mph.

Bryant continued south on I-475, where deputies used deflation devices to blow two of the ambulance’s tires, the sheriff’s office said. She continued for another mile before she lost control of the ambulance, stopped and ran away. She was taken into custody after a brief search.

Bryant was booked into the Monroe jail and faces one misdemeanor count of fleeing or attempting to elude along with multiple traffic offenses in that county, the sheriff’s office said. According to the McDonough police report, she will also be charged with motor vehicle theft and obstruction of an emergency medical technician. She remains in jail without bond.

Ambulance theft is a surprisingly common issue that has forced multiple agencies around the country to address the risk with technology and policy changes. Despite the high likelihood that thieves will be arrested and face serious felony charges, some people “are lured into the ‘joyride’ aspect” of the crime, according to Ohio Ambulance, an independent company.

Even more serious charges could be levied against ambulance thieves if investigators find that they were attempting to steal narcotics or use the vehicle for terroristic purposes, the company said. A recent case in South Carolina led officials to charge a suspected ambulance thief with attempted murder after he allegedly drove the vehicle toward a sheriff setting up “stop sticks.”

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