A 13-year-old boy from Rhode Island stole an ambulance from the Coventry fire station and collided with a motorcyclist on Thursday. A firefighter was also dragged from the back of the ambulance as he desperately tried to stop the youth from leaving with the rig.
As reported by Fox News, the teenager, the motorcyclist, and the firefighter — identified as Scott Brown — received minor injuries during the course of the theft and the resulting crash. The Boston Globe reports that all three injured persons were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The motorcyclist, who ABC News identifies as Nicholas Croce, aged 20-years-old, was treated for a broken finger and then released.
“We are grateful that this incident did not result in serious injuries or loss of life,” Coventry police Colonel John MacDonald said in a statement to the press on the incident.
The teenager, who has not been identified, is said to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism. He was brought to the Central Coventry Fire Station #7 along with his mother after officers met them in their car on Route 117. The boy was visibly agitated, and officers on the scene tried to calm him down before taking him to the fire station to be evaluated.
Instead, the boy ran into the ambulance bay and moments later was captured by dash cam footage striking a police car, then crossing Route 117, all whilst behind the wheel of the stolen rig. Firefighter Scott Brown had attempted to stop the theft, but found the doors to the ambulance locked. He clung to the side of the ambulance for a short distance before falling off. Once on the road, the motorcyclist, Croce, struck the ambulance going approximately 45mph. After the crash, the vehicle rolled down an embankment and came to a stop.
Despite being injured himself, Scott Brown crawled across the road to assist Croce with his injuries. He has been hailed as a hero, both for trying to stop the theft, and for his assistance to the injured motorcyclist.
The teenager will likely not face charges, according to MacDonald. However, an investigation has been opened into the incident.
“For all the first responders involved in this incident, it brings into acute focus the challenges that parents, care givers, and children experience when dealing with autism and other disabilities,” MacDonald said. “It also reminds us of the difficulties our officers and firefighters face when assessing and treating individuals who suffer from mental health disorders.”
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