Apr 15, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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Brad Matthews

NextImg:NY ambulance joyride ends abruptly thanks to police spike strip on Mario Cuomo Bridge

A New York man’s 25-mile joyride in an ambulance ended when law enforcement used a spike strip to stop the vehicle.

Matthew Chacko, 47, had been brought to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in Manhattan for evaluation. While leaving the facility at around 4:50 a.m., Mr. Chacko saw the ambulance he had been transported in unlocked, unoccupied, and with the key still in the ignition.

Mr. Chacko, intoxicated at the time, proceeded to get behind the wheel and drive away, going northbound on New York Interstate 87, New York State Police said.

The emergency vehicle was being tracked by the Fire Department of the City of New York, and the New York State Police were advised to look out for the vehicle.

State police attempted a traffic stop of the ambulance near the highway’s Exit 9 to Tarrytown. When Mr. Chacko did not stop, a slow speed pursuit was initiated.

It was only when Mr. Chacko tried crossing the Mario Cuomo Bridge spanning the Hudson River from Westchester County to Rockland County that he was stopped. New York State Police deployed a spike strip, blowing the ambulance’s tires.

Mr. Chacko was arrested, and is now being charged with grand larceny in the third degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, both felonies.

Mr. Chacko also faces misdemeanor charges of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree, obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, driving while intoxicated, and driving while ability is impaired by drugs.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at