A man in a stolen ambulance caused a six-car accident after driving erratically into north suburban Evanston Tuesday afternoon.
The accident occurred about 3 p.m. at the intersection of Chicago and Dempster, according to Evanston police Cmdr. Tom Guenther, who said there were several injuries, though he did not have details on how many or how severe. A witness said as many as eight people were injured.
Preliminary investigation showed the ambulance was stolen from a Chicago nursing home and the offender drove north on Chicago Avenue into Evanston, Guenther said. It struck a parked vehicle at Chicago and Washington, but did not stop.
"He just kept going at a high rate of speed," Guenther said. "He was driving very erratically and it is possible the driver was impaired."
The man drove the private ambulance north until causing the pile-up at Dempster, Guenther said.
Robert Skertich was driving north on Chicago Ave. when the ambulance passed him at a high rate of speed with its lights flashing but no sirens.
"He ran the red light and just plowed through three cars," said Skertich, a native of Chicago who was in Evanston to meet with a client.
"Two of those cars were totalled. It was just amazing that no pedestrians were hit," he said.
The driver then got out of the ambulance, Skertich said. "There was blood all over this guy's face and he just started screaming, 'I hate God. I hate God.' then he starts running. Didn't even stop to see if everyone was OK."
Skertich said he and a friend who was in the car got out and chased the man, eventually cornering him until police arrived.
He said the driver was a "small guy" who put up quite a fight when officers tried to arrest him. Guenther confirmed that the driver struggled with police officers before being taken into custody.
The suspect was among those injured in the accident, and received medical care, Guenther said. He is now in the custody of Evanston police awaiting the filing of charges.
Chicago police confirmed that a private medical ambulance was stolen from a nursing home in the 7400 block of North Clark at about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. News Affairs Officer Joanne Taylor said there were no patients or staff inside the vehicle at the time.
"We understand the vehicle was recovered after causing property damage in Evanston, and the case may involve a DUI," Taylor said.