A man who was treated and released from a Mesa, Arizona hospital decided to try and beat the heat by helping himself to an ambulance to avoid walking, police said.
The Mesa Police Department said in a news release that 37-year-old Todd Shell had just been treated for a "heat related situation" at Banner Desert Hospital around 11:30 a.m. when the incident began.
"When officers interviewed Shell after his arrest, he said when he came out of the hospital he thought it was too hot to walk home," a news release from the Mesa Police Department said. "He walked back towards the hospital when he found the ambulance running in the bay while the crew was dropping off another patient. Shell decided to take the ambulance at that point so he wouldn't have to walk."
Police say officers discovered Shell traveling on the U.S. 60 Freeway at a normal rate of speed, and when police attempted to stop him, he "continued driving at normal speeds."
Eventually, Shell pulled off the freeway and found himself surrounded by police.
"Shell said that he wanted to buy a sandwich, but needed to go home and get some money first," police said. "He said that he intended to return the ambulance."
Temperatures in the Mesa area have been scorching over the last few days as an oppressive heat wave beats down on the region. Phoenix, AZ broke a record temperature set in 1943 on Wednesday with the National Weather Service reporting that Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport recorded a temperature of 116°F (46°C).
Police say Shell was booked into jail on one count of unlawful use of means of transportation and one count of unlawful flight from law enforcement. The ambulance was reportedly undamaged and returned to the hospital.
EMTs will commonly leave the keys in the ignition while bringing a patient into the ER representatives with the Phoenix Fire Department told Fox 10.
Photo: Mesa Police Department