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It was ‘too hot to walk home’ from hospital — so he stole an ambulance, Arizona cops say

An Arizona man faces charges after police say he stole an ambulance from a Mesa hospital he was released from because it was “too hot to walk home.”
An Arizona man faces charges after police say he stole an ambulance from a Mesa hospital he was released from because it was “too hot to walk home.” Mesa Police Department

In his defense, it’s July and he’s living in Arizona.

A man had just been released from a hospital in Mesa, Arizona, on Tuesday when he decided it was “too hot to walk home” — so he hopped into the driver’s seat of an ambulance and hit the road, according to police.

Banner Desert Hospital called police around 11:30 a.m. after realizing the emergency vehicle had vanished. The ambulance crew had been unloading another patient at the time, leaving the vehicle empty but running, police said.

Using the GPS coordinates on the ambulance, it didn’t take authorities long to track the thief down, police said. But even after they caught the stolen ambulance cruising east on U.S. Route 60, the driver wouldn’t stop for officers and kept going at normal speed.

Eventually the suspect — Todd Shell, 37 — pulled off the highway and came to a stop, police said.

Shell informed police that he simply “wanted to buy a sandwich, but needed to go home and get some money first,” according to police.

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Police said he told them he planned to give the ambulance back after he had his sandwich.

Before he was released from the hospital, Shell was being treated for a heat-related incident, police said. Shell had started the walk home after his release, but said he realized it was too sweltering to make it there. That’s when he turned back and found the ambulance at the hospital, he told police in an interview after they arrested him, according to the police report.

Shell faces two felony charges — one for unlawful flight from police, and another of unlawful use of means of transportation, according to police.

The ambulance is back in operation and wasn’t damaged in the incident, according to police.

The high temperature in Mesa on Tuesday was 115, resulting in an excessive heat warning in the region, according to AccuWeather.

A man is facing charges after Ohio police say he dragged an officer for more than a mile in his car while fleeing a traffic stop. Dashcam video shows the officer being dragged down a street while another trooper chases the suspect.

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