Emergency medical workers in the ambulance neglected to engage an anti-theft feature as they rushed a critically injured accident victim into the hospital, the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat reported Tuesday.
The vehicle was reported stolen minutes after the ambulance crew arrived at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis shortly before 3 a.m. Monday, authorities said.
Ambulance personnel didn't follow procedures to secure the truck because their patient was so critically injured she required immediate treatment, said Timothy Brown, operations manager for Medstar Ambulance in neighboring St. Clair County, Ill., where the accident occurred.
The patient, 31-year-old Kristen M. Treat of St. Louis, had been thrown from a Pontiac Grand Prix after it hit a bridge support pier in Fairmont City, Ill.
She died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The driver, Karemon M. Lederer, 24, of East St. Louis, was in stable condition at a St. Louis hospital, police said.
The ambulance was recovered in East St. Louis a short time after it was reported stolen. None of the $175,000 worth of the equipment it carried was reported damaged or stolen.