Chicago Fire Department

Audio, Records Reveal New Details of Stolen Ambulance Pursuit on I-55

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The man authorities say stole an ambulance in Chicago and led police on a roughly two-hour pursuit on Monday is a 45-year-old attorney who jumped from a moving Amtrak train just before the incident and launched into a largely disturbing and incoherent rant for several minutes on the Chicago Fire Department's radio frequency as police chased him down I-55.

Illinois State Police on Tuesday identified the suspect as Benjamin Herrington, of Chicago. Herrington is an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Illinois, according to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and a LinkedIn profile for Herrington lists several Chicago law firms as previous employers.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned that prior to incident on Monday, Herrington was a passenger who jumped from a moving Amtrak train at Halsted Street shortly after it left Union Station at 4:05 p.m.

From there, it would have been a short walk to Chinatown, where surveillance video obtained by CWB Chicago showed a man climbing into an ambulance parked on the street at around 4:40 p.m. in the 200 block of West Cermak Road.

Much of the subsequent pursuit down I-55 was captured on video, in which Herrington can be seen speaking into the vehicle's radio. He spoke on the CFD frequency for about nine minutes, according to the audio, claiming past drug use and delving into what appeared to be paranoid delusions, saying people have been sending him "the craziest messages."

We're learning new details tonight about the suspect who allegedly stole a CFD ambulance and led police on a chase Monday afternoon, and NBC 5's Alex Maragos has the story.

"Even today I sent stuff that showed clearly, my phone was not [expletive] under my control," he said. "I don't know if they killed my family or if my family's dead."

Herrington also claimed he had gone to the FBI about an unspecified complaint in the summer of 2020.

"They met with me in the Dirksen Federal Building with two people who clearly were not who they said they were," he can be heard saying. The FBI declined to comment Tuesday.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained an order of protection filed against Herrington in Cook County in April 2019, by a former girlfriend who said he pushed her to the floor and attempted to strangle her.

The following year, records with the Illinois Secretary of State's office show that he created an LLC, which listed the business address as his home in a downtown Chicago high-rise. Records show the LLC was involuntarily dissolved in January of this year after Herrington failed to file the company's 2021 annual report as required by state law.

Just two weeks prior to Monday's pursuit, it appears Herrington posted a comment on his LinkedIn profile: "Its A Mystery how God Tells us When THe ONe Best Unexpected Stuff is going To happen, No?"

The I-55 pursuit on Monday ended at Exit 217, where Herrington abandoned the ambulance, which for several miles had been traveling without a rear tire. Video shows Herrington running into the northbound lanes and eventually being tackled by ISP troopers. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

As to how the theft of an ambulance was even possible, a 2017 general order states clearly that CFD vehicles are not to remain idling when they aren't occupied.

But NBC 5 Investigates has learned it's actually a common practice to leave ambulances running and locked in order to keep electronics powered up and medications inside at a constant temperature.

An official investigation into the incident is underway.

Herrington was charged with fleeing and eluding officers, resisting and obstructing officers, as well as possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to ISP. He remained in custody in Grundy County Jail Tuesday evening and was expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

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