A man is in custody after he stole an ambulance from the front of a Chicago fire station on Monday and took it for a journey of more than 70 miles before being taken into custody in a dramatic foot pursuit that shut down both sides of Interstate 55 in Livingston County.
According to Chicago police, the situation started in front of a fire station in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, just off of West Cermak.
Authorities say that the ambulance was parked in front, and in an instant, a man jumped into the driver’s seat and took off.
Security footage from a nearby business shows the ambulance parked outside of the building, and in the very next frame the ambulance is gone, off on a ride that would take it more than 75 miles and into Livingston County.
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All the while, Illinois State Police remained in pursuit of the vehicle before it blew a tire and ultimately was stopped just short of exit 217 in Dwight. The suspect was then detained after a brief foot pursuit, according to authorities.
Traffic was shut down in both directions as a result of the incident, according to Total Traffic.
Back in Chicago, residents expressed bewilderment at the wild scene.
“That’s pretty crazy,” Nicholas Galvan told NBC 5. “It makes you wonder what the thought process was behind that. What is the goal, you know?”
Other residents say they hope that the theft doesn’t cause any public safety issues.
“I don’t know what there is in an ambulance that’s so valuable,” Sydney Wieczorek said. “Someone might need a ride from that and now that ride isn’t there for them.”
No injuries were reported during the pursuit, which lasted for more than an hour. An investigation remains underway, and no charges have yet been filed in the case.