Witness describes crazy scene after man allegedly steals Chicago ambulance, leads police on chase
CHICAGO - A Chicago man is expected to be charged with stealing an ambulance Monday and leading police on a chase lasting more than 70 miles on Interstate 55, officials announced Tuesday.
Benjamin K. Herrington, 46, was arrested around 6:30 p.m. Monday for fleeing to elude a peace officer, resisting a peace officer and possessing a stolen motor vehicle, according to Illinois State Police.
The Chicago Fire Department ambulance was stolen from in front of a Chinatown firehouse near Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue.
Video obtained by CWB Chicago allegedly showed Herrington hop into the idling ambulance around 4:40 p.m.
Herrington is accused of driving it roughly 70 miles away on a highway downstate.
Police chased ambulance #66 down Interstate 55 and even though a tire blew out somewhere around Joliet, the vehicle kept going until it reached mile marker 217 near Dwight, Illinois.
Herrington appeared to be cooperating with police but then ran across a median into oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes.
DOWNLOAD THE FOX 32 CHICAGO APP FOR BREAKING NEWS ALERTS
That's where Garrett Tiehes was bringing his car to a stop and started filming on his cellphone.
"I thought it was a car accident and then I see a man take off with 10 cops chasing him," said Tiehes. "I thought I would shoot video to show to my friends and they told me, ‘this guy stole an ambulance,’ and they said a whole chase was going on."
Tiehes said Herrington looked distraught and he was glad his car doors were locked. It appeared the suspect tried to get into a pickup truck in another lane.
"I was just in shock, I literally didn't know what was going on at all," Tiehes said, looking back at the experience.
Tiehes, who is a journalism graduate from the University of Missouri, said his reporting skills kicked in as he captured the video.
Herrington was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, according to ISP. He was released into police custody and transported to the Grundy County Jail where he is awaiting transfer to Cook County.
Now officials with Amtrak are providing insight into what happened before the chase, confirming that Herrington boarded a 4:10 p.m. train Monday at Union Station on its way to Carbondale. However, officials believe he hopped off the train at some point while it was reversing out of the station.
Herrington's sister confirms to FOX 32 her brother is a Chicago attorney – as is listed on his LinkedIn profile. She declined to comment on his alleged actions.
FOX 32 visited Herrington’s last listed address – a condo building near Washington Street and Wells Street – where we were told he previously rented but moved out more than a year ago.
Herrington has no known past criminal record.
Chicago police are the lead investigating agency in this case, state police said.
CFD has launched an internal investigation to find out how this happened, and to prevent something similar from happening again. A spokesman thanked law enforcement for preventing injury to others and for recovering the ambulance.