A man who "thought he could get to the hospital quicker'' jumped behind the wheel of an ambulance and took off Saturday while his ailing family member and two paramedics were inside, authorities said.
Jimmy McCoy, 27, of the 4800 block of West Superior, "probably thought he was helping'' when he took the wheel as a relative was being treated for a diabetic episode, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
McCoy was arrested and charged with felony unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Ambulance No. 23 was stopped in the 4300 block of West Wilcox at 11:30 a.m. while paramedics were treating the relative in the back, Langford said.
The male and female paramedics immediately radioed in, saying: "This is ambulance 23. Our ambulance has been stolen, and we are in the back with a patient,'' according to Langford.
The paramedics were "somewhat agitated'' but handled the situation professionally, he said.
McCoy allegedly began driving northbound on Kostner.
Fire Truck No. 26, which had gone on the medical run with ambulance No. 23, stopped the ambulance about three blocks away, Langford said.
Police surrounded the ambulance and arrested McCoy.
Police said McCoy, who has been arrested 32 times before, allegedly told officers he "thought he could get to the hospital quicker'' than the paramedics.
The patient was taken by another ambulance to the hospital, fire officials said.
No one was injured, officials said.