Cops: Gary man steals ambulance, drives through Lake County to Chicago

2014-03-18T21:00:00Z 2014-03-25T18:18:07Z Cops: Gary man steals ambulance, drives through Lake County to ChicagoElvia Malagon and Lauri Harvey Keagle Times Staff Writers

A man stole a Prompt ambulance Tuesday, triggering a police chase through much of northern Lake County into south Chicago, police said.

Edwin Herrera, 34, of Gary, was in police custody Tuesday afternoon, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Official charges were pending Tuesday. 

Shar Miller, president of Prompt Ambulance, said a worker had stepped away from the ambulance to pick up a patient from Fresenius Medical Care located at 3290 Grant St., in Gary when the vehicle was stolen. No one was inside when the vehicle was taken.

A Lake County Sheriff's officer responded to the stolen ambulance at 12:37 p.m. near the intersection of Ridge Road and Cline Avenue in Highland. The driver continued north and exited at Chicago Avenue.

Miller said their ambulances have a GPS tracking device, which allowed officers to track the vehicle as it wound through parts of Griffith, Hammond, East Chicago, Whiting and Chicago. 

Lake County officers followed the ambulance with activated lights and sirens while Eagle One, the sheriff's department's helicopter, followed by air. 

Lake County Officer Ron Taylor spotted the ambulance as it turned onto Indianapolis Boulevard near Chicago Avenue in East Chicago, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Taylor continued to pursue the vehicle as it crossed into Illinois, where Chicago police officers joined the chase.

About 1 p.m., Herrera turned into a grassy area near 9015 Mackinaw St. in Chicago and stopped the ambulance, the sheriff's office said. Chicago officers arrested Herrera without incident.

Officials did not say what motivated Herrera to take the ambulance.  

Miller said the ambulance was not damaged and was recovered by a supervisor Tuesday afternoon.

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