A 19-year-old who stole a Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance and led multiple police agencies on an hours-long chase was given two years of deferred probation after pleading guilty to a second-degree felony charge of theft of property.
Felix Lopez, 19, visited a Dallas fire station April 4 and inquired about becoming a firefighter, according to an arrest affidavit.
The next day, he led multiple police agencies on an hours-long chase that only ended when the emergency vehicle got stuck off-road with flat tires.
According to Dallas County court documents, Lopez pleaded guilty to the second-degree felony charge of theft of property between $150,000 and $300,00 in June. The ambulance was valued at $230,000.
In the arrest affidavit, a firefighter at Fire Station 53, the station Lopez visited, said Lopez made him feel "uncomfortable."
On the morning of the theft, the same firefighter said firefighters had returned from a call and returned to the garage a few minutes later to find the ambulance missing, according to the affidavit.
Before investigating police officers left Fire Station 53, a patrol officer running radar spotted the stolen ambulance on Belt Line Road headed toward Interstate 20 and began following the vehicle. The officer attempted to stop the driver but the driver refused to stop and continued driving erratically before cutting across an open field to get onto the highway.
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Dallas police stopped following the ambulance on the ground and allowed Air 1 to maintain the pursuit from the air.
Over the course of the next hour, officers from other agencies attempted to stop the driver without success.
After stop sticks were deployed, retractable strips with spikes designed to flatten car tires and end chases, the ambulance's tires went flat and the driver was forced to stop the vehicle while driving off-road.
Lopez tried to run from police on foot but was cornered in a fenced-in area and was taken into custody by several officers near Joyce Way and Tension Lane.
Police said Lopez has a long criminal history with stolen vehicles.