Friday, October 12, 2012

Shakin' My Head Here, Boss...

Joe in IL sends in today's WTF story:

Cops: Man, 77, stole ambulance
With a chill in the air and no one to give John Neal a ride home from the hospital Tuesday night, a parked vehicle with its engine running and door open was perhaps too hard to resist.
The problem was: Neal has no driver’s license, and the vehicle in question was a Cicero Fire Department ambulance.
Now, what I don't get here is that Neal has never held a driver's license. I understand that not everyone lives out in the sticks like I do and needs a car, but to live one's entire life never being licensed to drive a car? Odd. But I digress. Perhaps it is his lack of a license that lead to his, ahem, unconventional choice of rides? You've got to wonder about the thought process of someone that decides to hop in an ambulance for a ride home. Couldn't he have found something less conspicuous, like the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile?

There's a couple of things I want to point out in this story. First off, this dude commits Grand Theft Ambulance Auto and is released without bond? Seriously? Way to slap criminals on the wrist, guys. Secondly, the story mentions that the paramedics in charge of the ambulance are being placed on leave while it is determined how this happened. I know it's common practice to leave rigs idling - we had an issue at the local hospital where the ambulances were being left idling by the fresh air intake for the lab, leading to the lab filling up with diesel fumes - but to leave the box unattended?

I suspect Ambulance Driver has a few stories like these he could tell...

That is all.


Paladin said...

Neither of my Grandmothers ever drove a car - not that uncommon, of course, given how long ago that was.

Surprisingly, though, I have an Aunt that has never driven and Mrs. Paladin's mother doesn't drive either.

Neither one of them live in areas where public transportation is really an option. I don't get it, myself.

Matt said...

I can buy someone living in Cicero not needing (and therefore not having) a license. I _can't_ buy that very dude not being sufficiently familiar with the local bus system as to be able to get himself home on public transit.

Dave H said...

My wife's best friend from high school didn't have a driver's license until her kids started school. I'm not sure if she worked at a job outside of home before then. Her husband made pretty good money so she really didn't need to.

In this case I could see the guy jacking a ride if he was angry because nobody would take him home.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

It's a pretty common practice (at least around here) to leave the truck running at the hospital. Especially with older trucks, the electrical load from all the extras is enough that occasionally they won't start again if they're not plugged in while they're not running. Newer ones are better, with automatic cutoff switches for the patient compartment and accessories, but it still happens occasionally.

Speaking from personal experience, it really sucks to get another call while you're out at the hospital and find out that the ambulance won't start.

Unattended? That's also pretty common, though usually the EMS room is right next to or pretty close to the entrance. Incidents like this are pretty rare, really, and at most hospitals it's hard to be inconspicuous around the ambulance entrance because they're fairly well visually defined as "restricted" areas even when they're not posted as such explicitly. Plus, personnel needs usually mean there's no one free to sit with it.

Here, the area is at least monitored by hospital security. But generally, the risk that the truck won't start again is greater than the risk that it will get stolen.

Ambulance Driver said...

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for crews here (even I've been guilty of it when in a hurry) to not only leave the rig idling and unlocked at the ED, but sometimes even with the rear doors ajar.

The supervisors ride herd on the crews as best they can, but there are still a few who won't learn their lesson until their rig gets stolen.

In a previous life as a supervisor, I was known to go park the crew's rig out of sight around the block whenever I found it unlocked... or crank the heat up full blast in the middle of summer.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

The article says he had no driver's license, not that he never had one. At 77, he could be pretty freshly pissed off at having his license taken away for failing the vision test.

Ian Argent said...

"Excessive bail shall not be required,..." and he's not be convicted of anything by due process of law yet. Remember *why* that but is in the bill of rights. Guy isn't judged a flight risk. No bond isn't "coddling," it's constitutional. Bonds aren't for punishing the arrested, they're for ensuring that the accused shows up when there is reason to doubt they'll make the court hearing.

lee n. field said...

" _can't_ buy that very dude not being sufficiently familiar with the local bus system as to be able to get himself home on public transit."

At 77, possibly some dementia coming on, which might also account for him not being arrested.

ParatrooperJJ said...

When I ran squad it was city policy that the only place a truck or squad could be turned off was at the station.