Tablet Local

Man flees JPS in ambulance

People usually use an ambulance to go to the hospital.

This patient used one to get away.

A man being taken to John Peter Smith Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation bolted from the emergency room shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday and drove off in the ambulance that had brought him there.

“He apparently wanted to be able to get home quickly,” MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said. “He jumped in and off he went.

“He drove faster than we could run.”

Hospital police caught up to the ambulance several blocks away at West Allen and Smith avenues in the Fairmount neighborhood. The man was taken back to the emergency room, and the undamaged ambulance was picked up by its crew, Zavadsky said.

Although ambulances are always kept running, Zavadsky said, MedStar policy requires them to be locked when unattended. He said MedStar is looking into the matter.

“Just like any other mechanical device, it’s possible the lock failed, the stars aligned, and somebody took advantage of it,” he said.

The man, identified as Charles Jennings, 35, was in the Tarrant County Jail Tuesday night. No bail had been set, online jail records showed.

Tarrant County Hospital District police intend to pursue a charge of theft under $200,000 against Jennings, said Kris Newcomer, a JPS spokeswoman.