Man charged with stealing CFD ambulance, leading police on 80-mile chase downstate

A person entered the ambulance as it sat empty, parked on the street outside a fire station in Chinatown Monday afternoon.

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One person was dead and another injured after a motorcyclist struck a man crossing a street May 19, 2022 on the Northwest Side.

Someone stole an ambulance April 25, 2022, near the South Loop.

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A man has been charged with stealing a Chicago Fire Department ambulance Monday in Chinatown and leading police on an 80-mile chase downstate.

Benjamin K. Herrington, 46, entered the ambulance as it sat empty, parked on the street outside a fire station in the 200 block of West Cermak Road around 4:40 p.m., police said.

Officers pursued the ambulance down Interstate 55 as the driver sped away in excess of 70 mph. About two hours later, a tire on the ambulance blew out and the driver tried to run away at state Route 17, near downstate Dwight, but was arrested after a short foot chase.

The arrest was captured by a CBS 2 Chicago news helicopter.

Herrington, from Chicago, was charged with fleeing from police, resisting arrest and possession of a stolen vehicle, Illinois State Police said.

He was treated at a hospital and taken to Grundy County Jail, where he’s awaiting transfer to Cook County. Chicago police are the lead investigating agency, state police said.

In a statement, the city Fire Department said it was thankful for the police agencies that helped “secure the ambulance and get the young man the help he needs without serious injury to himself or members of the public.”

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CFD said it started an internal investigation and will take steps to prevent similar ambulance thefts in the future. CFD did not say if the ambulance was left running or unlocked.

In October, a woman stole a CFD ambulance from a Humboldt Park Health hospital and struck a bicyclist and a car.

In August 2020, a woman stole a private ambulance left unlocked and running outside a South Loop nursing home. She was arrested 45 minutes later in Lake View.

In June that year, a man stole an ambulance in the Austin neighborhood while CFD paramedics loaded a patient into the back. He was arrested a block away.

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