WASHINGTON - At least 13 vehicles were damaged as police pursued a driver in a stolen ambulance. Saturday. The man is now in custody but it's not yet clear why the suspect started the destructive spree that began in Arlington and ended in D.C
Police say it all began around 3:40 p.m. on Aug. 12. Virginia State Police officers responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of I-66 near the 74-mile marker. The truck that caused the crash, which had been reported stolen from Falls Church, fled the scene and the driver was later identified as 30-year-old Darell T. Caldwell.
The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Just minutes later, another multi-vehicle crash was reported in the northbound lanes of I-395 near Exit 10 in Arlington County. The crash was caused by the same stolen truck being driven by Caldwell. A total of five people were transported to a nearby hospital as a result of this crash. Meanwhile, Caldwell fled the crash scene on foot.
State Police then received a report of a crash on the George Washington Parkway. Investigators discovered that Caldwell had obtained another truck and was going the wrong way, causing a third crash.
An Arlington County Fire Department ambulance responding to I-395 came upon the crash on the GW Parkway and stopped at the scene. The medics got out and while they were tending to a driver, Caldwell jumped into the ambulance and sped off.
Medics were able to flag down a state trooper who was responding to the crash scenes to report the stolen ambulance. The trooper was able to catch up to the ambulance but Caldwell refused to stop and a pursuit began.
At one point, the ambulance came to a dead stop in the road. Then, as the trooper was getting out of his patrol car, Caldwell put the ambulance in reverse, rammed the state police vehicle and fled the scene.
State police picked up the pursuit after the trooper’s vehicle was hit and Arlington County Police also joined.
During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance got onto the I-395 Express Lanes going into Washington, D.C. Caldwell got off of the highway and eventually slammed into a parked car at 14th Street NW and D Street NW, bringing the chase to an end. One person was inside the parked car and was treated for minor injuries.
Authorities took Caldwell into custody without further incident and he was transported to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation.
In total, Caldwell hit at least 13 different vehicles and state police are continuing to investigate each incident. There were no reports of serious injuries and no law enforcement officers were harmed.
Anyone whose car was hit by the ambulance during the course of the pursuit is asked to contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.
Caldwell has been charged by both federal and local law enforcement. State police have charged Caldwell with 16 felony counts of hit-and-run and one felony count of eluding police. At last update, Caldwell was still being evaluated at the hospital but will be processed upon release.