Man charged with stealing ambulance

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A man is behind bars after police say he stole an ambulance in front of a hospital on Friday night.

Perry County Ambulance crews told police they were inside Hazard ARH for a just few minutes, but left the keys in the ignition.

"They came back to get the ambulance, and it was gone," said Hazard PD Sgt. Randy Napier.

Police say Shane Hale jumped in the ambulance and drove onto Highway 80, then took the exit for Highway 15 North toward Jackson.

Off-duty State Police Detective Chris Fugate was also on Highway 15.
He was heading in the opposite direction when he saw something unusual.

"The ambulance came up on a vehicle somewhere on Highway 15 at a high rate of speed, and had to hit it's brakes," said Napier.

He says Fugate turned around, caught up to Hale, and followed until the ambulance turned right at Highway 476 in Breathitt County.

The detective got the ambulance's attention by flashing his headlights at Hale, who then pulled over in front of a church.

"He was highly intoxicated. He wouldn't say how much he'd been drinking. He did admit he'd smoked some marijuana," said Napier.

Hale told police he was only borrowing the ambulance because he needed a ride home.

"Stated that he was going to tell them in the morning where the ambulance was located," said Napier.

Napier says Hale's driving caused a broken mirror on the ambulance, in addition to dents on the passenger side and back of the vehicle.

Hale is charged with theft by unlawful taking, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, criminal mischief, and driving DUI on a suspended license.

He is being held at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on a $40,000 cash bond.

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