AZ man found guilty of stealing ambulance - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

AZ man found guilty of stealing ambulance

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The ambulance was stolen outside a house fire on July 24. 2011. (Source: CBS 5 News) The ambulance was stolen outside a house fire on July 24. 2011. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

A man who stole an ambulance outside a house fire in west Phoenix and triggered multiple collisions was found guilty on Monday.

Travis Ward was convicted of one count of theft, one count of theft of means of transportation and two counts of criminal damage.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. He is still facing charges of aggravated assault in a separate court case.

Prosecutors said he took the ambulance that was left running to keep it cool for any people who might need medical care on a destructive joyride on July 24, 2011.

The ambulance was unlocked and its keys were in the ignition.

Phoenix police said Ward was caught a few blocks away, but not before the ambulance had struck a post, a fence, parked cars and one man's home.

"I thought I was dreaming and heard a loud boom, woke up basically to the wall coming towards me and red and blue lights," said Andrew Kliewer, whose home was hit.

Kliewer said he tried to get out of his house to see what happened, but the ambulance was blocking the door. However, a few seconds later, Kliewer said it hit reverse and was back on the road.

"I thought maybe they were trying to get someone to the hospital quickly and they lost control or something, but then when they drove away with a flat tire and driving on the rim, I knew it was a little more serious than that," said Kliewer.

Another block away, officers said they stopped Ward before he could damage anything else. When officers asked what led Ward to take the ambulance, they said he gave only one reason.

"He said that he had been smoking marijuana very heavily that night, so obviously it distorted him to the point where he would steal one of our rescue workers vehicles," said Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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