Sweetwater Police Officer suffers minor injuries after stolen ambulance runs her over
A McMinn County man spent the weekend in jail after police said he stole an ambulance from a dialysis clinic with a paramedic trapped inside.
A McMinn County man spent the weekend in jail after police said he stole an ambulance from a dialysis clinic with a paramedic trapped inside. Sweetwater police said Joshua Hackler then ran over one of their officers as she tried to stop him.
Patrol Officer Suzanne Ward just received the call for backup, when she spotted the accused shoplifter running across the dialysis center parking lot. She said she knew instantly she couldn't let him get away.
Sweetwater Police Officer Suzanne Ward said she paused to see which way Joshua Hackler was headed when she realized he was behind the wheel of an AMR ambulance. “At that time I heard an engine gun behind me, I turned around just in time to see the ambulance on top of me,” said Officer Ward.
Police said Hackler stole the ambulance to avoid being arrested. “He struck me with the ambulance and I was able to put my hands on the hood and shuffle my hands to the side and push myself off the hood.”
Ward survived with only minor injuries. When she made it to her feet she saw Hackler driving away, with a paramedic still inside the ambulance. “Scrambling to hold on to anything she could. Being thrown, she realized what was happening and started closing the doors as they were swinging towards her.”
He didn't get too far. Police said Hackler drove a few miles, rammed a gate and drove into a field where the ambulance got stuck. “He went over a crest of the hill and you could see air under the ambulance.”
Hackler was behind the wheel of the ambulance for about 40 minutes. A Monroe County k9 officer eventually found him hiding in the field. “Trying to hide from us. He wasn't trying to give up. He was basically trying to conceal himself in the corn stalks,” said Monroe County K9 Officer Clint Brookshire.
Ward said she's thankful she only has scrapes and bruises. “A little shoulder stiffness from lifting onto the hood. Banged a knee and elbow. That's it!” said Ward.
Officer Ward was released from the hospital Friday night and returned to work Saturday morning. The EMT was unharmed. Hackler is facing numerous charges, including attempted second degree murder, theft, and kidnapping.