Friday, November 04, 2005

Stolen Ambulance in High-Speed Chase


Early on Sept. 25, a Danville (Va.) Police unit spotted an ambulance that was reported stolen from Davidson County Ambulance Service in Lexington, N.C., sometime before 7 a.m. that day. The unit alerted area law enforcement agencies, and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol chased the suspect down various roads to the Highway 700 area.

The driver averted several spike strips that were laid to blow out the vehicle’s tires, until a sheriff's unit rammed the rear of the ambulance, knocking off the bumper, near the Rockingham\Caswell county line. The vehicle then hit a spike strip on Highway 700 at the Wolf Island Creek Bridge, forcing the ambulance over an embankment.

Deputies then pulled the suspect, Leon Perry Hollimon Jr., 37, out of the cab when he refused to exit voluntarily. Officers noticed that Hollimon had attempted to disguise himself, wearing a stethoscope and pager, and carrying two latex gloves in his back pocket. But even more unusual than his unconvincing appearance was the carcass of a deer found in the back of the ambulance, which was fully stretched out and strapped to the stretcher. Although officials were not sure how Holliman obtained the deer, it had obviously been dead for several days and was likely picked up from the side of the road.

Lt. Scott Nanney of the Lexington Police Department said Hollimon matches the description of a man arrested for public intoxication in Lexington the day prior. That man told LPD officers his name was John Lowder. Although unconfirmed as the man arrested for the intoxication charge, he was identified via fingerprint records as having extensive prior arrests, including convictions for possession of marijuana, larceny, loitering and prowling, and possession of a firearm by a felon, mostly in the Jacksonville, Fla., area.

Following the pursuit, the ambulance was towed to Hopper's Wrecker service in Eden and then returned to Davidson County on the following day. Two N.C. Highway Patrol cruisers were damaged in the pursuit, but no one was harmed.


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