Man charged with kidnapping after stealing rig with EMT trapped in back

The man crashed the ambulance, injuring the trapped provider, before fleeing and later stealing a Tanner Fire Department fire truck and crashing it, as well


Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

An Alabama man is being held without bond after he managed to steal and crash three vehicles in one night, including an ambulance and a fire truck, according to the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office.

He faces multiple charges, including kidnapping, after an EMT was trapped in the rear of the ambulance, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Investigators say the string of crimes began early Sunday, Aug. 7, when a burglary suspect stole a vehicle in Athens, Alabama, and crashed it near Pryor Field Airport in Tanner, Alabama. Tanner is about 90 miles north of Birmingham.

“At approximately 1:00 a.m., Athens-Limestone EMS were traveling north and noticed the vehicle. They stopped to check on the welfare of the lone occupant,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Upon entering the back of the ambulance, (the suspect) bypassed the patient compartment and entered the driver’s seat. One EMT was still in the patient area, while one was stepping into the patient area from the rear. (The suspect) took off, throwing one EMT from the ambulance and trapping the other in the rear compartment.”

The suspect crashed the ambulance near a creek not long after, injuring the EMT trapped in the back, officials said.

He abandoned the vehicle near Swan Creek and ran into nearby woods, prompting a manhunt involving a Morgan County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, Limestone County officials said.

“While tracking in the woods, (the suspect) made it back out to Hwy. 31, where he stole a Tanner Volunteer Department fire truck and headed southbound,” Limestone County officials said.

“Law enforcement spotted him and engaged in a pursuit of the stolen fire truck. Hayes left the roadway westbound at Flower Hill Wy,” officials said. “After traveling about a quarter mile off road, Hayes wrecked into a thicket, where he totaled the fire truck.”

The suspect then began running, but “was quickly apprehended by Athens Police Officers and Limestone County Deputies,” officials said.

The 30-year-old suspect is from the unincorporated Meridianville community in Madison County, Alabama, officials said.

He is being held in the Limestone County Detention Center and is charged with “three counts theft 1st degree; assault 2nd degree; kidnapping 1st degree; reckless endangerment; attempting to elude law enforcement; possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia,” officials said.

“Our prayers are with our injured EMT and we wish her a speedy recovery,” Limestone County Sheriff Joshua McLaughlin said in a release.

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