Man accused of stealing CFD ambulance, leading police on 80-mile chase in downstate

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 was 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 chased the ambulance down Interstate 55 as the driver drove away at over 70 mph. About two hours later, an ambulance tire exploded and the driver attempted to flee on State Road 17 near south Dwight, but was arrested after a short foot chase.

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

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

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

In a statement, the city’s fire department said it was grateful to the police department who helped “secure the ambulance and get the young man the help he needs without serious injury. nor injure members of the public”.

The CFD said it had launched an internal investigation and would take action to prevent similar ambulance thefts in the future. CFD did not say whether the ambulance remained running or unlocked.

In October, a woman stole a CFD ambulance from a Humboldt Park Health hospital and hit a cyclist 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 of that year, a man stole an ambulance in the Austin neighborhood while CFD paramedics were loading a patient from the back. He was stopped a block away.

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