FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– A Colorado State University student has been arrested for allegedly stealing an ambulance and taking it for a joyride.
Stefan Sortland is accused of stealing the Poudre Valley Hospital ambulance after it arrived on the CSU campus at Academic Village for an emergency. Paramedics went inside a building for about 25 minutes and when they came out, their ambulance was gone.
“Very unusual that someone would do this,” said Loveland Police Sgt. Justin Chase.
Police believe Sortland, 18, drove the ambulance to Loveland. Officers followed him and were able to catch up to him thanks to tracking technology.
“There was a GPS device on all the ambulances and we were tracking it and it was heading into Loveland from Interstate 25,” said Chase.
Polce tracked the ambulance to Highway 36 in Loveland and found it had been damaged.
Officers say behind the wheel was Sortland, a CSU sophomore, who was wearing an EMT safety vest and refused to listen to officers.
“They couldn’t see what was in his hands and they ended up deploying a taser in order to take him into custody,” said Chase.
According to court documents, Sortland told police he was heading to Vail and spoke about following the bright lights and other unrelated topics.
“I don’t know if he was under the influence or anything like that,” said Chase.
Poudre Valley Hospital released this statement: The vehicles typically are left unlocked so personnel can retrieve emergency equipment promptly should they need. The ambulances are left running because they have a high electrical load when on a call. The VHF radio, the emergency lights to warn cars of a hazard in the road, the heating or cooling system to the patient compartment, the medical equipment in the back, the computers and the GPS system in the rig draw a lot of electricity and could drain a battery if the engine is not running.
This is the first time in about 30 years since a PVH EMS ambulance has been stolen. However, in light of Sunday morning’s theft, we will re-evaluate the protocol.
“That could delay a response time for someone who is in a critical need,” said Chase.
Sortland is being held in the Larimer County Jail facing motor vehicle theft charges. Sortland also allegedly punched a correctional officer who was delivering a meal.
The patient at CSU was not a student and was taken to another hospital when another ambulance arrived to replace the stolen emergency vehicle.