What was thought to be a routine ambulance journey Friday turned into a physical confrontation and a patient in critical condition.
A 33-year-old man reportedly jumped behind the counter at the Wyndham Garden hotel at 221 E. Kellogg shortly after 8 p.m. Friday, took off his shoes and socks, snatched a clerk’s cellphone and claimed to have been shot, according to Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile.
The police officers who responded determined that the man, who was cooperating, had not been shot. The officers realized then that they had responded twice to calls about the same man lying on the ground in a parking lot earlier in the day in the 2200 block of South Seneca and in the 2200 block of South Elizabeth.
The man agreed to be transported to Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph and walked to the back of the ambulance, police said. But after he was buckled in and the ambulance had departed, the man jumped through a small opening to the front seats, grabbed the gear shift and put his hand on the gas pedal. The driver was able to stop the vehicle.
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An officer who had been following the ambulance then entered it and used a stun gun on the man, Ojile said. The EMS driver in the front seat opened the driver’s side door and tumbled out with the 33-year-old man onto the street. Officers then handcuffed the man.
Shortly afterward, the man became unresponsive. The handcuffs were removed and emergency personnel began treating him. He was transferred to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he was listed in critical condition.
Witnesses reported they thought the man to be under the influence of narcotics, Ojile said.