Stealing an ambulance is illegal — but in this instance, it might just be understandable for some.
On Monday, Arizona police reported, a man took off in an ambulance from the hospital after being released for “a heat related situation.” His intention: to drive home and collect money so he could get a sandwich, claiming it was “too hot to walk home.” More than 155 people died from causes in the Phoenix area related to heat in 2017.
It’s Arizona in July, so his definition of “too hot” is pretty accurate; weather sites recorded the high of the day at 115 degrees. That’s not exactly pleasant weather for a stroll to the sandwich shop, especially given that the man, identified as 37-year-old Todd (Tanner) Shell, had just been admitted to the hospital because of the heat in the first place.
According to the Mesa Police Department report, after Shell was discharged from Banner Desert Hospital, he found the idling ambulance unoccupied; it had just dropped off another patient. The police were able to track down Shell in the stolen (and, hopefully, air-conditioned) vehicle and booked him for two class 5 felonies, including unlawful use of means of transportation and unlawful flight from law enforcement. In their report, they noted he “intended to return the ambulance.”
Hopefully Shell finds a better ride home when he’s released this time.