Man Arrested After Crashing Stolen Ambulance

CHICAGO (STMW) — Excessive drinking apparently caused an Avondale neighborhood man with no criminal history to jump behind the wheel of Chicago Fire Department ambulance No. 52 and drive it for more than a mile before crashing into four parked cars causing more than $100,000 early Sunday.

Juan J. Hernandez, 36, of the 3600 block of West Belmont Avenue, was charged with driving while under the influence, criminal damage to government property, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, reckless driving and failure to carry a driver’s license, according to a police News Affairs statement.

The bizarre incident unfolded about 1:40 a.m. as the ambulance was parked at Norwegian American Hospital, 2900 W. Cortez St., police said.

One of two paramedics assigned to the ambulance was inside the hospital while the other was outside in back of the vehicle, according to Shakespeare District police Lt. Michael Mulkerin.

“He had just shut its doors, and then he hears the transmission shifting gears. He said: ‘What the hell — where’s my ambulance going,’ because he knew no one was inside,’’’said Mulkerin.

When Hernandez “took off’’ in it, the paramedic ran into the hospital and called 911.

Dispatchers got on the air, gave a description to police who “grabbed him’’ at 2546 W. Cortland St., about a mile and a half north from where it was taken.

But not before he hit four parked cars near Cortland and Rockwell, according to Mulkerin.

It was not immediatley known how badly the cars were damaged, but he caused more than $100,000 in damage to the ambulance, which is why authorities were able to bring the felony charge of damage to government property.

“Those ambulances aren’t cheap – they are loaded with equipment,’’ Mulkerin said.

Hernandez was taken back to Norwegian American Hospital in good condition and was treated for minor injuries he suffered when he crashed the ambulance, police said.

No patients were inside the ambulance and Hernandez was not with anyone when the incident occurred.

Hernandez did not list an occupation in an arrest report and he has has “very little’’ criminal background, just an arrest in 2006 for domestic battery — a charge that was later dropped, according to the lieutenant.

He told police he does not know how he got to the location where he was arrested.

“Apparently, he got so inebriated he does not know what he did,’’ said Mulkerin.

Hernandez is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Johnny Corporate

    Stealing an ambulance from the hospital you’ll shortly be brought back to as a customer…good synergy, Citizen!

  • freebarrabas

    Who took dat amberlamps?

  • Roberta Waker

    No license means no insurance, which means the taxpayers will pay for the damage. Hope the Judge puts him behind bars to sober up and cool off as he obviously has an anger management problem from prior charges for domestic battery even though they were dropped. ICE might want to check him out too. If he has a drinking problem we need to get him off the road BEFORE he kills someone.

    • OLD VET


  • Comedy Guy

    What’s the difference between a Mexican and a bucket of sh!t? The bucket!!HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!!

    • Jose Gonzales Domingos

      Hey, that’s a good one, comedy guy, but I have a better one. Why wasn’t Jesus born in Mexico? He couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kirby

    The DEA have been stealing drugs from evidence lockup and reselling them. It has become a popular way in the Department of Justice’s DEA to make extra money.
    They also steal from suspects for which they have created fabricated or coerced heresay evidence.
    With some of the DEA suffering under mountains of credit card debt they have started to think outside the box.

    • Jeff Harris

      I didn’t catch the name of the movie you are reviewing. It sounds like a good one though. Who’s in it?

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