Chicago Fire Department

Video Shows Timeline of Chicago Ambulance Theft That Sparked I-55 Pursuit

NBC Universal, Inc.

Video obtained by NBC 5 Investigates sheds new light on the theft of an ambulance from right outside a Chicago firehouse, which sparked an hourslong chase down I-55 earlier this year.

The surveillance video from April 25 - obtained via Freedom of Information Act request - shows the ambulance turn onto Cermak, coming to a stop in front of the Chinatown firehouse at 4:30 p.m.

Both paramedics walk into the firehouse, leaving the ambulance idling for roughly 12 minutes before a man walks up, first passing the firehouse then circling back around to the front of the vehicle.

At 4:44 p.m., the man opens the driver's side door - which appears to be unlocked - and climbs inside. Just five seconds later, the ambulance pulls away.

Another 12 minutes pass before the paramedics can be seen walking back outside, stopping in their tracks and turning to one another in shock as they realize the ambulance is gone.

The video gives a clearer picture of the timeline of the theft that ultimately sparked a more than 70-mile police chase.

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.

During the pursuit, the driver - who authorities later identified as 45-year-old Chicago attorney Benjamin Herrington - delivered an incoherent and at times disturbing rant via the ambulance's radio before he was eventually taken custody in the far southwest suburbs.

Herrington was charged in Grundy County with possession of a stolen vehicle and damage to government property, both felonies.

But when it comes to the theft of the ambulance itself, the Chicago Police Department said it closed the case without an arrest of its own, and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said the matter was never referred to them for charging.

Herrington has not posted bond and remains in custody in the Grundy County Jail. There is a status hearing in his case next week, with a trial date set for September.

The Chicago Fire Department said at times, they need to leave ambulances running for the purposes of electronics, charging batteries and cooling. But the department is currently in the process of outfitting its more than 90 ambulances each with a new anti-theft device. Those devices allow the ambulances to idle without the keys, and if someone breaks into the vehicle or tries to force the ignition, would turn the ambulance off, per CFD.

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