A woman has been arrested and charged after an Horry County ambulance was stolen from the scene of a medical emergency.
Officers responded to River Hills Drive in the Little River area around 3:20 p.m. on Monday in reference to “an Horry County Fire Rescue ambulance being stolen from the scene of a medical emergency,” according to an incident report from the Horry County Police Department. Upon arriving to the scene, a responding officer spoke with several witnesses as well a woman who was later arrested.
The woman, identified in the report as 40-year-old Laurie Leone of Shallotte, North Carolina, was “in the back of the ambulance on the stretcher being examined by EMS personnel,” said the report. A male witness stated to officers that all four witnesses were at the scene for a medical emergency call.
According to the report, as crews were starting to leave the scene, the fire engine this witness was in started to drive away. The witness also said when leaving, he noticed the stolen ambulance behind him, and that the medic was still at the scene.
When the medic noticed the ambulance was not at the scene and saw it following the fire engine down River Hills Drive and northbound on to Hwy 17, he notified the fire engine of the ambulance being behind them without the medic being in it, the report also said. The male witness and the driver of the fire engine stopped the fire engine in the left northbound lane on Highway 17 and exited, where they reportedly saw Leone in the driver’s seat of the ambulance and exiting the ambulance.
Leone reportedly then stated she was following in the ambulance because she needed help, the report also said. All four witnesses helped Leone to the back of the ambulance for a medical assessment. Leone reportedly declined needing to go to the hospital.
When officers made contact with Leone in the back of the ambulance, she was read her Miranda rights, according to the report. Leone then reportedly admitted getting into the ambulance on River Hills Dr. and driving the ambulance, following the fire engine, for about one quarter of a mile prior to the fire engine making a stop to see who was driving. Leone also reportedly stated she saw the fire engine and that it reminded her of her dad, so she decided to follow it in the ambulance.
According to J. Reuben Long Detention Center booking records, Leone was booked around 4:40 p.m. on Monday and remains in the center. She is charged with grand larceny of $10,000 or more.