SOPER, Okla. (KXII/Gray News) - Medics with the Choctaw County Ambulance Authority had a patient loaded on a stretcher Sunday night, and when they went to get him in the ambulance, it was gone.
Sheriff Terry Park said that the man who medics were treating died as he was being taken to a hospital in Paris, Texas, by a family member.
Dash-cam footage shows a white man who is believed to be in his early to mid-20s hopping in and stealing the ambulance in the Soper area around 11 p.m.
“My first thought was, ‘Is this really real? What has society turned to when they steal ambulances?’” said Randy Springfield, Executive Director Choctaw County Ambulance Authority.
A man wearing a grey hoodie, with work gloves and headlamp, is seen via a camera aimed at the driver’s seat driving erratically, at times, more than twice the 25 mph speed limit posted.
All of the authority’s ambulances are equipped with GPS monitoring and front-facing and driver-facing cameras.
The ambulance authority thinks he had been stalking the ambulance for some time, hoping to get drugs from on board.
“I would think he would be after what he would think is some narcotics which, we do carry narcotics but we keep them locked up, so I mean it’s not easily accessible to the public,” said Randy Cox, Choctaw County Ambulance Authority captain. “There’s nothing on there other than gauze and bandages.”
The suspect is seen in the video driving with one and even no hands at times.
He pulls over, hops in the back and grabs a medicine bag full of what Springfield called life-saving medicine.
He also took several IV starter bags and kits and a pediatric bag which is used for things like intubations before ditching the ambulance and running off into the night.
“It bothers me that he would take something like that that people of this county pay for with their tax dollars that’s there to help them and assist them in their time of need and he would recklessly drive it and try to destroy it,” Cox said.
The Choctaw County Sheriff’s Office found the ambulance three miles southeast of Soper on a rural back road near a field.
The ambulance authority lost about $1,000 in medication and equipment in addition to the damage done to the ambulance.
They think the suspect is a local man. If anyone knows who he is, they’re being asked to call authorities.