Very short ambulance joy ride ends in arrest

An ambulance ride to St. Mary’s Hospital was delayed 30 to 40 minutes for one patient Thursday night as Grand Junction police searched for the keys to the vehicle.

Police found the keys not far away upon arrest of a man suspected of taking the ambulance on a short joy ride — about 5 yards.

A witness said the man parked the ambulance and ran into a quadplex at 1835 White Ave., according to an arrest affidavit for Christopher Royce Pingree, 26, 1835 White Ave., No. 4. The man returned, the witness said, turned off the ambulance and walked back to the quadplex.

The ambulance had been parked at 1850 White Ave., where a patient was waiting for a non-emergency transport to the hospital, according to police. Medical personnel told officers that someone took and hid the keys to the ambulance.

A quadplex resident told officers she saw Pingree place the keys to the ambulance in a gutter just above the second floor porch at the quadplex, near where officers found Pingree, another man and two women standing after the incident.

A witness could not positively identify Pingree as the person who moved the ambulance, according to the affidavit, but she said it was more likely Pingree than the other man who was standing on the porch.

Pingree was arrested on suspicion of second-degree auto theft, driving under the influence, driving under the influence per se, obstructing an officer or firefighter, second-degree tampering and first-degree vehicle trespassing.

An officer noted the scent of alcohol on Pingree’s breath, according to the affidavit. Pingree consented to a Breathalyzer test. The test results were blocked out of Pingree’s affidavit.


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