HOUSTON — A man was taken into custody Monday after being accused of stealing an ambulance and leading police on a chase through the Houston area.
Houston police said the man, who appeared to be in the middle of a medical crisis, first stole a vehicle from a woman in the Kroger's gas station on West 11th Street and North Shepherd Drive. Police said the man pretended he was helping the woman before stealing her car.
The man then drove to Houston Fire Department Station No. 17, which is just east of downtown along Navigation Boulevard, and took an ambulance that had keys in the ignition, police said.
The man drove around for an hour while police attempted to find him.
HFD officials said the ambulance he stole had issues with its automatic vehicle location, making it hard to find.
"We were not able to consistently pinpoint where it was," HFD Chief Rodney West said.
One driver said the man hit him while he was trying to get out of his way. Fortunately, he was not injured and his car wasn't badly damaged.
"It wasn't that big of an impact," the driver said. "There's some damage to the car. The officer got out the car with the pistol drawn and everything and told me to move out the way."
A police helicopter was eventually able to find the ambulance on the West Loop near Richmond Avenue. The helicopter trailed the ambulance until police were able to catch up with it, HPD officials said.
The man drove to the Rice Village area where police said they were able to use spike strips to slow him down. Seconds after he ran over the strips, he got out of the ambulance and started running, police said. Officers quickly caught up to him and took him into custody.
Police said they will be pursuing auto theft and felony evading charges. No one was injured in this incident, according to police.
Here's an update officials provided at the scene: