Police: Man Stole Ambulance, Fled, Crashed
April 23, 2008
Police: Man stole ambulance, fled, crashed
By Pierrette J. Shields
and Kacia Munshaw
LONGMONT — A patient who was discharged from a Lafayette hospital stole an ambulance and led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a wreck at Ken Pratt Boulevard and Sunset Street this afternoon, according to police.
Micky Stevenson Terry, 35, of Park City, Mont., took a Pridemark Paramedic Services ambulance from Exempla Good Samaritan Hospital and sped north on 95th Street, which turns into Hover Street in Longmont, according to Sgt. Tim Lewis of the Longmont Police Department.
The chase ended in Longmont at about 1:20 p.m. when the ambulance crashed near the Diamond Shamrock gas station at Ken Pratt Boulevard and Sunset Street, police said.
Police arrested Terry on suspicion of aggravated motor vehicle, reckless driving and eluding, and other traffic offenses, according to the Lafayette police.
No one was seriously hurt, although Terry lost consciousness and was taken to Longmont United Hospital.
Warned that the speeding ambulance was headed to Longmont, police tried to clear traffic from the path of the ambulance. A plain-clothes detective was nearly struck by the ambulance while directing traffic at Hover Street and Pike Road.
“He had to dive out of the way to avoid getting hit,” Lewis said.
The ambulance continued from Hover Street to eastbound Ken Pratt Boulevard at speeds in excess of 80 mph, police said.
Terry, driving the ambulance with lights and sirens blaring, lost control at Ken Pratt Boulevard and Sunset Street.
According to witnesses, he veered right into a pedestrian median at the intersection to avoid a truck in the intersection, struck the rear end of a Subaru waiting at the light in the northbound lanes of Sunset Street, crossed Sunset, jumped another curb, swerved left across Ken Pratt Boulevard, hit a median and crashed the ambulance, which stopped in some landscaping bushes.
“I don’t know how he didn’t hit people coming the other way on Ken Pratt,” said Keith Buckley, whose Subaru was damaged in the wreck.
Buckley was waiting at the light at Ken Pratt Boulevard at Sunset Street when he saw the ambulance coming. When the light turned green, he said he did not move to allow the ambulance through the intersection, but the truck in the lane next to him advanced through the light. The ambulance veered right to avoid the truck and hit Buckley’s Subaru, ripping off the back bumper. After that, Buckley watched the ambulance crash.
He said he initially worried the ambulance had a patient in the back, but realized quickly that it was not being driven professionally when he saw the police in pursuit.
“The cars behind me were like, ‘This is a TV show,’” Buckley said of the crash. He said the ambulance driver managed to slip through a utility pole and railroad switch box without striking either.
“I am very shaken up because that thing was going really fast,” Buckley said, adding that he thought he was going to be T-boned and his next car will have side-impact airbags.
Terry jumped out of the ambulance and tried to run away, but a man painting parking lot stripes at the gas station restrained Terry, according to police and witnesses.
“I saw him when he started to run and stopped him,” painter David Hackett said. “I got one of his wrists, and he held out his finger like it was a gun, and I got hold of his other wrist and I held him down.”
He released Terry when a trooper caught up and took over. Adam Kaiser, who painted with Hackett, said he ran to help, but Hackett didn’t seem to need assistance.
“I heard the cop ask the man what he was on and the driver said he had taken meth an hour ago,” Kaiser said.
Kris Hernbloom, manager of the Diamond Shamrock, said the ambulance was within inches of causing major damage to the gas station.
Margie Martinez, spokeswoman for the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies were called to a Del Camino motel this morning on a report that Terry was staying at the motel and was suicidal. She said the report was called in from an acquaintance who had apparently talked to Terry earlier in the morning. Deputies did not find any reason to hold him, but Martinez said he was taken by ambulance to Exempla.
Sharon Burnette, communications and marketing director for the hospital, said Terry was discharged from 12:30 p.m. Citing patient confidentiality rules, Burnette declined to say why he was at the hospital or for how long.
Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273 or email@example.com.