March 6, 2019
A man stole an ambulance in Southeast Portland on Wednesday, crashing into several cars and sending a child to the hospital.
Police ended up taking the suspected driver into custody outside Madison High School in Northeast Portland.
Initial reports state that Portland Police’s Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team was called out about 12:15 p.m. for a welfare check after getting reports of a man yelling, standing in traffic, and possibly hitting passing cars near Southeast 151st and Stark Street.
The officers convinced the man to go to the hospital for an evaluation, so they called AMR to the scene. While they were preparing to go to the hospital, the man took control of the ambulance.
The paramedics were not in the ambulance and were unhurt in the incident.
Police said the suspect caused a three-vehicle crash on Southeast 82nd Avenue at Washington Street. A child was taken to the hospital after a collision; no word on the child’s current condition, but officials say injuries in the crash weren’t serious.
“Well, I got a car right up against here, and I can’t get out,” said Dennis Doolittle, as he sat trapped in his car between two other wrecked vehicles.
Police managed to puncture the ambulance’s tires using a spike strip, and the man ended up stopping in the parking lot of Madison High School. Students said they could see the ambulance swerving across lanes as police chased it. The school was under a brief lockdown when the suspect pulled into the front lot.
The suspect quickly surrendered to the pursuing officers.
Our reporter at the scene said he was resisting officers when they tried to transfer him from the back of a police cruiser to a (different) waiting ambulance for medical treatment.
Police are still evaluating criminal charges in the case.