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Akron Beacon Journal
BY CHERYL POWELL
The Akron City Hospital ER got hit with an emergency of its own yesterday. But
this trauma called for a door repairman, not a doctor.
A woman crashed a stolen Akron Fire Department ambulance into the hospital's
emergency room entrance shortly after 3 p.m.
No one was injured, police said, but the seemingly made-for-TV drama did cause quite a commotion in the busy department, where about 30 patients were
waiting to be seen.
``I just heard the siren and all of the sudden, I looked up and there was an
ambulance coming closer -- and then it came a little too close,'' said Dan Lane,
a registered nurse in the emergency room who was about 30 feet away from thedoorway.
``There was actually no one in the doorway when it happened,'' he said. ``But there were some people who needed to be calmed down.''
Richelle Woodall, 22, of Akron was charged with auto theft, willful fleeing and misconduct in an emergency in connection with the incident. The ordeal started when two Akron paramedics and a police officer went to help
a pregnant woman who was punched in her stomach outside the AkronSummit County Public Library on South Main Street.
The ambulance was parked behind Sgt. Augie Macozzi's cruiser with its lights still flashing.
Suddenly, Macozzi said, people on the street were yelling and pointing as the ambulance clipped his cruiser, took off down Main Street and then traveled east on Market Street.
`I got into the cruiser and took off after the med unit,'' Macozzi said. ``It was relatively slow -- about 30 miles per hour. Nothing erratic, nothing reckless.''
The ambulance turned into City Hospital's ER driveway, ``slowed down, and then hit the doors,'' Macozzi said.
Several police officers quickly surrounded Woodall, who was crying and didn't put up a fight, Macozzi said. She didn't say why she had taken the ambulance and driven it into the hospital.
Police and Fire Department officials said they weren't sure whether the paramedics left the keys in the ignition.
Macozzi said there was no evidence the vehicle was hot-wired. Fire Department policy calls for paramedics to take the keys with them when they leave the ambulance, Lt. Al Bragg said.
`We're investigating that right now to find out exactly what happened,'' said Bragg, who declined to name the paramedics.
The paramedics stayed with the pregnant woman outside the library until a private ambulance company arrived to transport her to a local hospital, Bragg said.
The Fire Department also sent another ambulance to take Woodall to St.Thomas Hospital, where she said her psychiatrist is located, Akron Police Sgt.
Bruce Graham said.
This time, however, she rode in the back.