The Fulton County Sheriff’s department is looking for whoever stole the only ambulance of the Broadalbin Volunteer Ambulance Corps during an emergency medical response on May 16 and smashed it into a tree.
Sheriff Thomas Lorey said the Broadalbin Volunteer Ambulance Corps answered a call to a home on Ridge Road in the town of Broadalbin at around 2 a.m. that Saturday. Lorey said the two ambulance corps emergency medical technicians were administering aid to a person inside the house when someone stole their ambulance right out of the driveway.
“Someone found the ambulance running and took it for a ride. They smashed it,” Lorey said.
Officials said the ambulance was driven for 1.9 miles and then dumped at the intersection of Honeywell Corners and Ridge Road.
BVAC President Lisa Weiderman said the thief did $5,000 worth of damages to the rear of the ambulance and all but a $500 deductible is covered by insurance. She said her organization is going to purchase a “secure idle” device for about $400, which will enable ambulance drivers to keep their vehicles idling during emergency calls but undrivable after they remove the keys.
“With this device the keys can be pulled and the engine left running, but if somebody gets into the driver’s seat and engages the brake or the gas pedal, the engine cuts out,” Weiderman said. “There are [ambulance corps] in more metropolitan areas that have those installed.”
Lorey said the Ambulance Service of Fulton County has a mutual aid contract with BVAC and happened to show up just as the alleged thief was pulling out of the driveway with the ambulance.
Weiderman said the Fulton County ambulance took the patient with medical emergency to a hospital. She said it was lucky the patient hadn’t been having a more severe medical emergency.
“If this had been a critically injured person or a cardiac arrest, somebody would have died,” Weiderman said.
Lorey said the sheriff’s department has interviewed several people in its investigation but haven’t assembled enough evidence to charge someone. He said the charge would likely be grand larceny for the ambulance but probably wouldn’t include any further charge connected to endangering the life of the person in medical stress. He said he’s hoping someone from the public can help his investigation.
“So far we’re coming up empty. We’re hoping anybody who’s heard any stories about it will contact us. This is the kind of thing somebody would have had to brag about to somebody that they did it,” Lorey said.