St. Louis Police Charge Man in Wild Ambulance Chase

Dwane Vardiman is charged with vehicle tampering, assault and resisting arrest

click to enlarge Dwane Vardiman is accused of stealing an ambulance and leading police on a chase yesterday.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police
Dwane Vardiman is accused of stealing an ambulance and leading police on a chase yesterday.

A slew of charges have been brought against the 48-year-old O'Fallon, Missouri, man who is accused of stealing an ambulance yesterday in Crystal City then leading police on a chase in St. Louis.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Public Information Officer Evita Caldwell says that Dwane Vardiman of O’Fallon was charged with tampering with a vehicle, assault, armed criminal action and felony resisting arrest

Authorities have not said why they believe Vardiman stole the ambulance from Crystal City, a town of 4700 people that lies on the Mississippi River, and then drove it the approximately 35 miles north to St. Louis.

The Post-Dispatch reported that St. Louis police initially saw the stolen vehicle around 9:30 a.m. on Chouteau Avenue near the Lafayette Square neighborhood. Officers activated their sirens and the ambulance fled.

Fox 2 News traffic reporter and anchor Amelia Mugavero live tweeted the ambulance as it was being pursued, with visuals from the news station's helicopter.
Mugavero reported that the ambulance was, at various times, on highways 55, 270 and 40, as well as making a brief detour onto Gravois.

It reached speeds of 100 mph, she reported, and that at one point the police stopped their active pursuit, likely for reasons of public safety. She described the vehicle dangerously swerving in and out of traffic.

The Post-Dispatch reported that the ambulance intentionally struck a police car.

The ambulance's journey ended not long after it exited Highway 55 onto South Broadway.

Missouri Highway Patrol deployed spike strips, the Post reported, and the ambulance's tires were immobilized in south city.

St. Louis police used a Taser on Vardiman before arresting him at the intersection of South Broadway and East Schirmer Street in the Patch neighborhood.

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Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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