Ambulance stolen from 'Night Release'; driver runs from scene
“It was just kind of an impulsive thing,” said the person who drove the ambulance, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There was a lot of drinking involved.”
According to witnesses, the ambulance was driven across campus at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, although Campus Police reported the vehicle stolen at 11:15 p.m. on Saturday night. It was spotted driving through the social dorm quad by Officer Tom Harding.
“I was walking out of Stone … I saw it pull down between Davis and Pond [Dormitories],” said Duncan Webb ’01, who added that the ambulance was driving on the grass. “At first I thought it was driving normally … Then it sped up and came right at me. Then it made kind of a quick left turn and spun out.”
“There were people in front of Pond when he made that turn,” he added. “He was headed in their direction and they scattered.”
Webb estimated that he saw the ambulance around 1:00 or 1:15 a.m.
Several students observed the incident at its inception.
“I saw someone trying to put the ambulance into gear, and they couldn’t,” said Lucienne Canet ’04.
According to Assistant Chief of Campus Police Edwin Zaniewski, Harding first noticed a vehicle travelling down the wrong side of the road by the social dorms. Upon closer inspection, Harding saw that it was an ambulance, at which point he put on the police car’s lights and pursued the vehicle.
“I think there were police following me,” said the driver. “I don’t remember the driving much.”
The ambulance pulled over by Stone Dormitory, according to Campus Police, and a male was seen running from the scene. Officer Harding was unable to apprehend the person, according to Zaniewski.
“It was fun,” said the driver. “I probably will get caught. I think maybe they’ll suspend me for a semester.”
Zaniewski said that criminal charges may be pressed.
“We would certainly consider it if it turned out to be an Amherst student,” said Zaniewski, who said that the charge would be using a motor vehicle without authority.
“When I realized it was hijacked … [I thought] the person who was driving it was obviously not thinking about the consequences if he or she was ever caught,” Webb said.
“I didn’t do it the way I wanted to,” the driver said. “It’s not a big deal for me to get suspended.”
The most significant damage to the ambulance was that half of the bumper had been torn off, according to Zaniewski. Also, the ambulance was driven with the emergency brake on, so internal damage is still being assessed.
“All [area coordinators] have been contacted,” said Zaniewski, who asked the ACs to notify all Resident Counselors in an effort to find the perpetrator. “It could have been a pretty serious event. The ambulance was ‘on call’ if it was needed in Town.”
“[I have] no regret,” the driver said. “I was laughing my head off.”
The Town ambulance and two paramedics had been hired from the fire department by the College to be on hand during the “Night Release,” which took place from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturday night.