EDMONTON – A patient led police and RCMP on a chase Tuesday morning after stealing an ambulance from an Edmonton hospital.
A woman stole the vehicle from inside the Royal Alexandra Hospital ambulance bay. She crashed through the bay doors before making her way through the city and heading west on Highway 16.
A police pursuit lasted between 30 to 45 minutes. When the ambulance drove out of the city, Edmonton police contacted RCMP to help.
At approximately 6:40 a.m., the ambulance was stopped at a gas station in Duffield, Alta. near Range Road 32 and Highway 16, where the driver was arrested without incident.
The gas station manager said she saw the ambulance speeding down the highway heading west with the lights flashing before it returned.
“Shortly after that I see the ambulance pulling in, no lights, with a police vehicle behind it, basically herding it in, and then a bunch of other RCMP and Edmonton services came flying in from the east and surrounded the ambulance,” Betty Peters, gas station manager, said.
“I seen them open the door of the ambulance and a woman stepped out.”
The 21-year-old woman has since been charged with dangerous driving, theft over $5,000, failing to remain at the scene of a collision, and driving an uninsured vehicle.
She was later returned into the care of the hospital.
It is the first time an ambulance has been stolen from inside the hospital’s ambulance bay, Dale Weiss, executive director of Alberta Health Services EMS North Zone, said.
The ambulance, which costs more than $100,000, was damaged. An inspection will be conducted before it’s back in service.
Ambulances are equipped with GPS systems, so officials knew right away the vehicle was stolen and on the move.
“Nobody would be calm around this,” Weiss said.
“This would certainly be very offsetting for all the staff as well as other people that were involved. It’s highly unusual and very much a concern.”
Keys are left inside ambulances that are parked inside the hospital’s bay because the area is considered a secure site, so a review on security will be conducted, Weiss said.
“These incidents are very serious for us and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that patients, staff and public secure as can be.”
The Edmonton Police Service is investigating the incident as well.
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