Barnes-Jewish Hospital Ambulance Theft: How Did Suspect Ride Off With Emergency Vehicle?

Emergency paramedics were in such a rush last night to get a patient into Barnes-Jewish Hospital that they apparently forgot to secure their ambulance.

When they went back outside, the vehicle was gone.

"The patient...was in such critical condition," Tim Brown, a MedStar operations manager, tells Daily RFT. "I don't know if it was adrenaline or what, but they needed to get her treated immediately."

And Brown says they skipped an important step that involves taking the key out of the ambulance and putting it into a lock mode.

Who took advantage of the idling ambulance and drove off?

Brown says the ambulance, first reported missing early this morning around 3 a.m, was recovered in East St. Louis at 6 a.m.

Brown, a manager with MedStar, which owns the ambulance in question, says that there was no damage and no missing equipment.

He says that authorities believe a female suspect took it from the hospital and drove it over to East St. Louis, but thus far have few details beyond that. Authorities believe she might have been a patient at the hospital, but it's not certain, he says. (Or it could have been someone just looking for a joy ride?)

The patient originally in the vehicle was involved in a crash on Illinois Route 3 and the Post-Dispatch reports that she was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics brought her to the hospital.

Authorities are currently examining surveillance footage in their investigation of the ambulance theft.

"We do have procedures in place," Brown adds of the process of securing ambulance vehicles upon arrival.

Is this kind of theft a common problem?

"We do not deal with this often," he says.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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