A stolen ambulance crashed into a parked car outside Shoemaker Elementary School in Lynn. (Massachusetts State Police)
Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

Two arrested after stolen ambulance crashes into Lynn teacher’s car

LYNN — State Police have arrested two people after pursuing a stolen ambulance from Peabody to Lynn, where it crashed into a teacher's parked car outside Shoemaker Elementary School Thursday afternoon, authorities said. 

Rob Daddario, 48, a Regina Road resident who lives across the street from where the collision occurred, said he was out in his backyard when he started to hear sirens. When he went out front, he heard more sirens, followed by screeching and a loud crash. 

"I noticed there was an ambulance crashed into a car and about 10 state troopers," said Daddario. "I only (saw) one guy. They had him basically at gunpoint and had to get him out of the car. I just started videotaping when they had him on the ground. It was something out of a movie. It was really crazy." 

Melrose Police released a statement Thursday morning saying that the Armstrong Ambulance transportation vehicle was stolen from the emergency department of Melrose Wakefield Hospital. The wheelchair van was there to pick up a patient when it was stolen by an "unknown suspect around 6:30 a.m.," the statement read.

State Police said that troopers found the ambulance van after a motorist reported seeing it on Route 1 in Peabody. Police said they attempted to stop the chair car, but the suspects refused to stop, leading to a pursuit from Route 1 to Route 129 into Lynn. 

The ambulance, which had a flat tire at that point, was trying to pass traffic as the driver continued to try to evade police, and crashed into an unoccupied Ford Explorer parked at the intersection of Route 129 and Regina Road in Lynn shortly before 1 p.m, State Police said.

There were no injuries and two men, Daniel Walsh, 22, of Melrose, and Nicholas Burke, 23, of Peabody, were taken into custody. 

They are also being investigated for allegedly shoplifting from Kohl's in Saugus nearly three hours following the ambulance theft Thursday morning. Police have recovered hundreds of dollars of stolen men's clothing, according to State Police. 

Walsh, the driver of the ambulance during the pursuit, was charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license, committing a marked lanes violation, larceny, and shoplifting. 

Burke, the passenger, was charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, larceny, and shoplifting.  

School Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler said there was no need for a lockdown at Shoemaker School, which was in session, because the suspects were apprehended immediately after the crash. He said the incident didn't disrupt school or impact dismissal. 

Daddario, who has a 5-year-old son at Shoemaker, said things could have been a lot worse if the incident occurred about an hour later, while kids were getting out of school. Children pack the streets and sidewalks every day after dismissal, he said. 

"I'm just so happy they got him and nobody got hurt," Daddario said. "I'd like to say the State Police did a good job with the way they apprehended him. There were no problems. It was like watching a military-style thing on TV. It was pretty cool, but it was scary. It was like watching a movie, but you're in real life." 

The two suspects are expected to be arraigned in Peabody District Court on Friday. Melrose Police will seek charges related to the actual theft of the ambulance.

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