David Joseph Karosus, also known as the “impatient patient,” stole an ambulance to get home. Thanks to his poorly thought out action, Karous will be calling prison home for the next year or two.
The Wilkes-Barre’s Times Leader reports that in November 2015, 56-year-old Karosus stole an ambulance to drive himself home. What sparked the patient’s impulsive decision? According to David, he felt the staff at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center was “f***ing around with his leg.” Whether this meant Karosus thought the staff wasn’t taking his condition seriously or was making it worse isn’t clear.
He wanted to leave the hospital and as quickly as possible. Somehow, this translated into “borrowing” an ambulance to get home. The Associated Press wrote that David spotted a newly arrived ambulance that first responders had left running. In his own words, David thought, “F*** it,” and stole the ambulance. What seemed like a good idea at the moment would quickly be revealed as a costly error.
It took police officers little time at all to locate the runaway patient; the ambulance contained a GPS system, allowing authorities to easily locate it. The patient was arrested a short while later. In May 2016, he pled guilty to the theft.
Apparently, there wasn’t any scenario where this patient driving an ambulance home wouldn’t break the law: David was also charged with driving with a suspended license.
On Wednesday, a judge sentenced David Joseph Karosus to 15 to 30 months in state prison. Judge Tina Polachek Gartley also ordered that Karosus has “no unlawful contact with Kingston Ambulance.” In other words, unless he’s in dire need of an ambulance in the near future, the man should probably expect to stay far away from emergency vehicles.
The case is undeniably bizarre. However, the incident in Pennsylvania doesn’t mark the first time someone had the bright idea to steal an ambulance. It’s surprisingly common.
For instance, in the video below you’ll see a Chicago hospital patient’s impromptu joyride come to a joyless end.
If you can believe it, the background story behind the video manages to be even odder than what transpired in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. According to a June 2015 report by the Chicago Tribune, 23-year-old Michael Buckner stole an ambulance in Chicago, Ill. and then drove to Wisconsin. He later crashed on Interstate 43 near Port Washington.
A well-meaning witness to the accident attempted to help Buckner. Buckner repaid the individual’s kindness by stealing their car. Authorities caught up with the man a short time later. Even crazier? Nearly a year later to the day, the Chicago Tribune reported a woman patient was arrested for stealing a Chicago hospital’s ambulance.
It does seem that a startling number of people look to ambulance theft as a sensible way to spend their time. Well, as these individuals eventually learned, it wasn’t.
Emergency vehicles exist to help people get treatment as quickly as possible. It should go without saying that they aren’t for joyriding or quick trips home. Taking an ambulance without permission is a crime, and as our most recent “impatient patient” learned, the act will typically get you sent to jail.
Interestingly enough, it’s not impossible for such vehicles to be used to transport patients home in the event of an emergency. Medicare.gov confirms medical coverage if a patient needs an ambulance to take them home from the hospital. Perhaps before one gets the strange urge to take an ambulance without permission, it would be a good idea to find out whether that trip home might already be covered.
In any event, let these stories serve as a reminder that certain impulsive decisions may seem like a good idea when you can’t wait. Unfortunately, you’ll eventually be forced to do a lot of waiting — to see the outside of a prison cell.