RUSK, Texas (KETK) — Officials in Rusk are on the scene of a stolen ambulance that crashed into a gas station on Thursday, according to Angelina County Sheriff Tom Selman.
The San Augustine County EMS ambulance was reportedly stolen from CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Hospital in Lufkin and crashed into a gas pump at the Kim’s Convenience Store at 1580 Dickinson Drive in Rusk.
Lufkin Police Department said the man walked away from the hospital after being taken there by a family member. He allegedly stole the ambulance from the emergency room parking lot while the EMS crew was inside the hospital with a patient.
Lufkin police were notified of the incident at 12:38 p.m. and officers were in pursuit of the ambulance on Loop 287 within three minutes.
The man reportedly headed north to U.S. 69 and continued toward Pollok at speeds of about 80 mph.
Officers turned the pursuit over to the Texas Department of Public Safety and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at 1:11 p.m. in Alto, according to Lufkin PD.
Shortly after, Lufkin PD dispatch was notified by Cherokee County that the suspect crashed into a pump at Kim’s Convenience Store off U.S. 69 in Rusk.
“It sounded like a bomb went off and then there were police coming from everywhere, “said witness Twilla Clay.
Clay said she saw the crash as it happened.
“The ambulance hit the curb and dust and dirt flew everywhere and we didn’t see anything for about five or 10 minutes and when it cleared, he was upside down at the pumps,” said Clay.
The man was then flown to a hospital from the scene of the crash with injuries. Lufkin PD said that warrants will be served at a later time due to the man’s injuries.
“I thought maybe somebody was seriously injured in that ambulance and they were being escorted and as they went on down the road I realized there was no lights on in the ambulance and I didn’t think more about it,” said Clay.
Thursday afternoon, all of the gas pumps at the location are off and customers are not able to get fuel.
St. Luke’s Health-Memorial released the following statement:
“We are cooperating with the appropriate authorities regarding the theft of an ambulance from our St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin campus. The health and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority and we will also review our internal processes and procedures.”