UPDATE: Stolen Cabell County Ambulance Was Running and Unlocked

By: WSAZ News Staff, Randy Yohe Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, Randy Yohe Email

UPDATE 9/30/11 @ 3 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A two-state joyride, with sirens blaring, had police chasing a man driving a stolen ambulance.

Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry tells WSAZ.com that joyriding was the likely reason for the heist that happened just after midnight Friday.

Merry says that's when the squad responded to the Vanity Fair building after a 911 call involving an ill person. He says when they came down from the apartment -- the ambulance was gone.

But the vehicle has a GPS system on board, and authorities tracked the ambulance to remote Leatherwood Road, just outside of Getaway, in Lawrence County, Ohio.

That’s where the hijacker abandoned the disabled ambulance and took off on foot into the woods.

Merry says the ambulance was running and unlocked at Vanity Fair.
He says that's standard procedure, but now it's also a major cause for concern.

Law enforcement from both sides of the river searched by foot and with dogs for hours, hounding a joy rider that witnesses say is 6 feet tall and about 300 pounds. They had no luck.

As to any possible policy changes regarding running, unlocked and unattended ambulances, Merry says it’s going to make him re-think the procedure. He will balance patient safety and comfort with the now renewed fear of an ambulance theft.

Merry says this happened in Huntington once before, in 1974, and that ambulance was only taken a half block away.

Huntington Police are now in charge of the hijacking case.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/30/11 @ 6:47 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Cabell County ambulance has been located in Ohio, after being stolen in Huntington.

911 dispatchers tell WSAZ.com the ambulance was on a call in downtown Huntington about 12:30 a.m. when someone got in and took off.

After a frantic search, GPS showed the ambulance was in Ohio. Since it was not an active pursuit, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department went in search.

The ambulance was eventually located along Leatherwood Rd., just off OH-243 near Getaway, Ohio, but the driver was gone.

Residents of Leatherwood Rd. told authorities they were alerted when the heard the ambulance siren outside. They said they saw a man exit the ambulance and walk up the road, before headlights appeared and he ran up a hill.

A Huntington Police K-9 unit was called to the scene, but could not track the suspect.

According to the Cabell County Sheriff's Department, residents told Lawrence County deputies the suspect was approximately 6 feet tall and about 300 lbs.

The ambulance sustained some damage, including a missing right front tire.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 9/30/11
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Cabell County ambulance has been located in Ohio, after being stolen in Huntington.

911 dispatchers tell WSAZ.com the ambulance was out on a call when it was stolen in downtown Huntington sometime after midnight Friday.

After a search through Huntington, police got word the ambulance may have crossed into Lawrence County, Ohio.

It was eventually located on OH-243.

We have a crew on the way to the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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