Watch: Calif. man steals fire truck, leads police on wild pursuit

The nearly hour and a half pursuit ended when a bystander walked up to the truck and forced the driver to stop

By Josh Cain
The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — A fire truck stolen from UCI Medical Center in Orange was back in its garage Tuesday morning.

A man led police on a pursuit over freeways and side streets through multiple Orange County cities just after he took the vehicle at around 1:40 a.m., according to video footage. The vehicle is only slightly worse for wear.

“There was some minor body damage from what had occurred during the pursuit,” said Capt. Greg Barta of the Orange County Fire Authority. “I’m not sure what he hit.”

Barta said the truck was parked at the medical center after firefighters brought a patient in for treatment. Its captain and engineer were at the back of the vehicle securing some equipment when the truck suddenly started moving forward.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday where the man came from. Barta said the firefighters never saw the man as the truck took off. And they hadn’t seen him in the area prior to the vehicle theft.

Police pursued the truck until around 3 a.m., when the driver stopped in Anaheim.

A homeless man stood directly in front of the truck, his arms spread wide, forcing the driver to stop, video footage by Onscene.TV shows.

“I figured he was just like one of my kids,” the man later told the videographer. “Somebody that made a bad mistake.”

He didn’t want to see the driver get hurt, he said.

Eventually, after many prompts from police, the driver disembarked from the truck and surrendered.

Multiple police agencies had no information about the arrest: Neither Garden Grove nor UCI police officials have returned requests for comment Tuesday.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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