An Edinburg man is behind bars after he’s accused of taking an ambulance on a joyride last Sunday.
“At first we thought it was a prank,” said Hidalgo County EMS paramedic José Sánchez.
Sánchez said he had just dropped off a patient from a car accident at an emergency room off of Expressway 281. When he went outside, he noticed the ambulance was gone.
“My partner comes up and tells me that, ‘You know our unit’s gone?’” Sánchez said.
Sánchez, along with his dispatcher at their communications center in Pharr, made contact with Edinburg police to find the ambulance through GPS locating.
“It took us out of service for at least two or three hours or so,” Sánchez said.
This put one less ambulance on the street at the service of someone needing medical attention.
According to the report from Edinburg police, Sánchez called at about 9 p.m. The ambulance was later found on the 700 block of West Monte Cristo Road in Edinburg. Police identified the possible suspect as Ricardo Antonio Jiménez, who was found at his house on North Flores Street in Edinburg.
Jiménez was arrested and charged with auto theft. During an interview with police, Jiménez stated that he stole the ambulance in an attempt to get home.
“To our medics, it shouldn’t be something that should be crossing their mind,” said Manuel Guerrero, an administrator for Hidalgo County EMS.
The biggest concern is that not only the ambulance, which has expensive equipment costing over $150,000, but the ration of narcotics in the unit. Guerrero says that the narcotics could be harmful and even deadly to people if abused.
Bond was set at $75,000.
Jimenez remains in the Hidalgo County jail.
Empire State Medi-Cab didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.