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Cowlitz County ambulance stolen during medical call

Emergency responders dispatched to a home north of Kelso for a medical call Friday afternoon had their ambulance stolen by someone at the residence, according to Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue.

An unidentified suspect was arrested following a police chase on southbound Interstate 5, authorities said.

Firefighters went to the residence in the Lexington area in Cowlitz County for a report of “breathing difficulties,” the fire department said in a news release.

“While crews were attending to the patient, a family member left the residence and drove off in the medic unit,” the release says.

The vehicle theft was immediately reported, and several police agencies were called in to chase the runaway ambulance, which had its emergency lights activated as it entered the freeway at Milepost 42.

Washington State Patrol, Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies, and Kelso and Kalama police officers pursued the ambulance as it headed down the freeway, crossing multiple lanes at speeds of at least 80 mph.

Law enforcement laid spike strips across the entire freeway at Milepost 25, which the suspect drove over in the southbound lanes, flattening all six tires on the ambulance, according to the fire department.

“The suspect then drove the unit into the median and partially onto the mainline Burlington Northern train tracks where he was taken into custody by multiple officers and a K9,” the fire department said.

No one was injured during the pursuit.

Fire crews remained at the Lexington home and helped a patient with her home oxygen; she did not need to be taken to the hospital.



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