EMS Manager Andy Foote tells KFDM News a patient at Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital saw an unattended ambulance that was parked outside the hospital early Saturday morning after paramedics had brought a critically ill patient inside. Foote says a firefighter had been driving the ambulance while two paramedics were in the back of the unit working on the patient.
The keys were still in the ambulance, and Foote says the man who took the ambulance drove from the hospital to his parents’ home off Delaware Street.
His parents called police and the ambulance was returned in about 30 minutes with no damage to the vehicle. Foote says he can’t recall another instance in which a city operated EMS unit was stolen in Beaumont.
Interim Fire Chief Pete Shelton tells KFDM News that Beaumont EMS might want to look at its procedures in light of what happened. The EMS manager says adequate procedures are already in place. Shelton says the fire department put new guidelines into effect after a teen stole and wrecked a $650,000 fire truck on January 2. Shelton says the department now takes precautions to make sure its trucks cannot be moved at the scene of a fire–until firefighters are ready to move them.