Woman charged with stealing fire department ambulance, crashing in Gold Coast

Yolanda Ricks | CCSO

An Austin woman is charged with stealing a Chicago Fire Department ambulance from Norwegian Hospital and leading police on a chase that ended in a Gold Coast cul-de-sac this week.

Prosecutors provided no motive for Yolanda Ricks’ cross-town adventure.

Police officers on the lookout for the stolen rig spotted it near Division Street and Ashland Avenue around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, not long after the fire department reported it missing.

Cops, who said they were concerned that a patient or paramedic might be inside the ambulance, allegedly saw Ricks run several red lights as she ignored their commands to pull over.

Twitter user @bettercallSol posted dashcam video of the stolen ambulance nearing the end of its run through the Gold Coast with CPD units closing in.

“Ya know, it would’ve been a lot easier with your lights on,” Sol Marburg says after CFD Ambulance 10 passes him without its emergency equipment activated. A moment later, he realizes that the squad car following the ambulance had its lights and siren activated.

“Not sure if they were friggin’ chasing that ambulance? That was weird as hell … They’re definitely chasing this thing. Holy sh*t!”

According to police, Ricks, 32, crashed the ambulance into a parked car at 43 East North Avenue moments later. But she wasn’t quite done.

Police said she refused to get out of the ambulance after it crashed, and they had to break a window and enter the rig to pull her out.

When she complained of having “aches and pains,” officers placed her in a different ambulance for a trip to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She stood up and tried to kick the back door open so she could run away, officers said. But a cop who was along for the short ride to Northwestern pinned her until they arrived at the hospital, a CPD report said.

Officers later learned that Ricks struck a bicyclist with the ambulance near the 2200 block of West Division before they intercepted her. The bike rider was not seriously injured, police said.

Prosecutors charged Ricks with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing and eluding, driving on a suspended license, and failing to report a vehicle accident.

Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $50,000. Ricks must post 10% of that to get out of jail on electronic monitoring under Willis’ order.

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