Man arrested after stealing CFD ambulance, driving for over an hour down I-55

DWIGHT, Ill. (CBS) A man was apprehended near Dwight, Illinois, after he stole an ambulance from the Chicago Fire Department and drove about 75 miles down Interstate 55.

Chicago Fire Department Ambulance 66 was stolen at the fire station at 212 W. Cermak Rd. in Chinatown, where it is housed with Fire Engine 8. The firehouse was one of several featured in the 1991 film “Backdraft.”

Someone jumped into the ambulance on the Southwest Side and drove off at Stevenson near Cicero Avenue, after heading southwest on Interstate 55 into Lemont, Channahon and beyond.

From 6 p.m., police were looking for the ambulance at highway speed on the Will County Highway. The thief drove the ambulance between the two tracks on the outgoing I-55.

The ambulance continued beyond the Chicago area through Gardner and toward Dwight. Its rear tire in the driver’s side was flat for several miles, and the man who stole it left the driver’s side rolled down.

Near Gardner, the suspect slowed down and opened the window, gesturing toward an Illinois State Trooper with what appeared to be a cell phone in his hand. After apparently exchanging words with the soldier, the man drove off again.

Near the Dwight exit, the ambulance again began to slow down and stopped as both tires in the driver’s side relaxed and the rear axle was also shot.

The driver first rescued and appeared to surrender with his hands up, only to run away while carrying a backpack. The man ran straight into the northbound lanes of I-55 and tried to carjack a red quad pickup pulling a trailer by pulling the door open, but the driver sped off before he could do so.

The man fell off the pickup truck and police caught up with him along with a K-9 unit. Police seized the man and a Dwight ambulance arrived at the scene to take him away under police guard.

There was no one else in the ambulance but the one who stole it. The thief’s motive for stealing the ambulance was not clear.

Both sides of I-55 were closed near the Dwight exit when the man was apprehended.

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