GOODYEAR, Ariz., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- A patient "escaped" a hospital west of Phoenix Saturday by hijacking an ambulance and driving home before police were able to track down the vehicle.
Michael Lopez, an Avondale native in his late thirties, was arrested after stealing an ambulance from the West Valley Hospital, an acute-care community facility in Goodyear.
The vehicle, which belonged to the Buckeye Valley Fire Department, was parked in front of the hospital when Lopez took off. A firefighter who was sitting in back of the ambulance was able to jump out safely, police said.
Officers were unsuccessful at making Lopez pull over. They later tracked the ambulance to the patient's home in Avondale, but it is not immediately clear if or how police lost sight of the ambulance before then.
Lopez was booked into Fourth Avenue jail in Phoenix and charged with multiple crimes, including theft, failure to yield to police and felony flight.
Authorities said the reason for Lopez' hospitalization remains unknown.