Man leads Philadelphia police in bizarre ambulance chase

Medics responded to calls of a domestic disturbance requiring medical attention at the Roosevelt Inn in northeast Philadelphia at approximately 9:20 p.m., according to police spokesman Sekou Kinebrew. At the inn, first responders encountered a “combative” shirtless man wearing what appeared to be boxer shorts and described as being in his 40s, Kinebrew said.

Police are withholding the man’s name pending charges.

When police arrived, the unnamed man broke into an ambulance and drove off as police officers began to arrive, Kinebrew said at a press conference after the incident. The man steered the ambulance toward a police officer, who fired four times, with three shots striking the man, two in the left leg and one in the side, Kinebrew said.

The police officer was then struck by the ambulance, sustaining injuries that are not life-threatening, Kinebrew said.

The man then took off in the ambulance, leading police on a low-speed chase across northeast Philadelphia for more than an hour.

“During the course of him fleeing from police, we believe he struck two marked police vehicles,” Kinebrew said. None of the officers in those vehicles were believed to be injured, the police department confirmed. The man may have also caused a civilian collision.

Could have been worse, police say

At one point, a tow truck with its lights flashing and its tow equipment extended, drove around the ambulance and got in front of it, according to aerial video footage taken by CNN affiliate WPVI. The ambulance collided with the tow truck, causing the tow truck to spin. The ambulance was able to drive away.

Shortly after that, the ambulance’s left front tire began to come apart and eventually came completely off, leaving the ambulance to ride on its rim. The ambulance’s right front tire also began to shred.

The chase ended on Tolbut Street, “where the male was taken into custody without further incident,” Kinebrew said. Police then transported the man to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital.

“This could have been a lot worse. It could have been a lot more collisions. The injuries could have been a lot more severe,” Kinebrew said. “Not trying to minimize what it was, but we’re thankful that it doesn’t appear that certainly uninvolved people didn’t sustain any injuries.”

The Philadelphia Police Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for additional comment.