Maryland man leads Virginia police on wild chase in stolen truck and ambulance before DC arrest

Aug 13, 2023, 10:00 AM

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A Maryland man committed over a dozen hit-and-run crashes in a stolen ambulance alone in addition to driving a stolen truck on several major northern Virginia highways this weekend before being taken into custody in the District of Columbia, authorities said.

Virginia State Police said there were no reports of serious injuries in Saturday’s crashes on portions of Interstate 66, I-395 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

According to the state police news release, the driver, identified as Darell T. Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, Md., was charged by federal and local law enforcement. State police charges were still pending. Caldwell was being evaluated at a hospital Saturday evening.

The string of accidents began shortly after 3:30 p.m., when state police responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of I-66. Caldwell was identified as the driver of one of the vehicles — a truck that had been reported stolen in Virginia, police said.

The truck left the scene, and almost immediately thereafter police responded to a multi-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-395 caused by the same truck, leading five people to be sent to the hospital.

According to police, Caldwell left on foot, and minutes later state police responded to a crash on the Parkway involving another truck that he was driving the wrong way and which hit another car. It wasn’t clear how Caldwell acquired the second truck. When an Arlington County ambulance responding to the I-395 crash also stopped at the Parkway accident, Caldwell drove off in it as medics treated another driver, the news release said.

A trooper, alerted to the stolen ambulance, began a pursuit and caught up to the emergency vehicle. At one point, the ambulance stopped in the road, only to ram the trooper’s patrol car when the trooper was getting out. State and Arlington county police pursued the ambulance, which ultimately got on the I-395 express lanes and entered Washington before striking a parked car. Caldwell was taken into custody without incident, the news release said.

Hailey Ruggiero was driving near Reagan National Airport when she was rear-ended by the ambulance, WUSA-TV reported. Ruggiero was surprised when neither the ambulance nor the officer following behind it stopped.

“I’m thankful to be alive right now. I just hope that justice is served for all of us that were affected,” she said.

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Maryland man leads Virginia police on wild chase in stolen truck and ambulance before DC arrest