Dog catches ambulance thief | Crime
ATLANTA -- The search for a stolen American Medical Response ambulance ended with a crash in southeast Atlanta. The driver ran off in to the early morning darkness to hide in the bushes, until a police dog sniffed him out.
The ambulance, which operates out of DeKalb County, was parked at Grady Memorial Hospital when it was taken just before 3 a.m. Tuesday. Police said an EMS driver was cleaning the rear of the running vehicle when a suspect, 38-year-old Jermaine McCommons, jumped inside and drove away.
Grady Memorial Hospital officials used a GPS device inside the ambulance to track it and relay its location to police. Atlanta Police Capt. Terrell Griffin said McCommons drove the ambulance from Atlanta to Cobb County. Investigators followed, but canceled the chase when the speed became excessive.
McCommons eventually returned to southeast Atlanta, then drove the ambulance into a light pole in the 300 block of Kelly Street, causing minor damage. He jumped out of the vehicle and ran, stripping off his clothing as he escaped.
Griffin said Arass, a 3-year-old "hero" K-9, picked up a scent from the discarded clothing and tracked McCommons to a drainage sewer near Interstate 20. McCommons was taken into custody about 30 minutes after crashing the ambulance. He was charged with auto theft and several other traffic-related counts.
"We found one of his shirts, so we knew we were somewhat on the right track. And then we found his shoe," said Atlanta Police Officer Robert Godwin, the dog's partner.
Arass followed the scent in an area that is difficult for even search helicopters and ground patrols to search in the dark.
"At the beginning of Capital Avenue, she jumped the wall went around the corner of the sound barrier. There he was laying in the bushes," Godwin said.
Godwin was quick to share credit for the capture with the ground team that secured the perimeter and tracked the ambulance by GPS.
Suspect McCommons waived his first scheduled court appeared Wednesday morning.