FDNY EMT Killed, Run Over During Ambulance Theft

TOM McELROY, Associated Press
FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo. (Fire Department City of New York photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York emergency medical technician and mother of five who authorities say was "bravely doing her job" was killed when she was run over by her own ambulance that had just been stolen.

Yadira Arroyo, 44, and another EMT were in the process of responding to a call Thursday night in the Bronx when they were alerted that a man was riding on the back bumper of their ambulance, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

"So, they stopped the ambulance, they got out to see what was happening. This person, in turn, went around the other side of the ambulance and got into the driver's side," Nigro said.

The man then put the ambulance in reverse, striking Arroyo, who fell and got caught beneath the wheels, fire officials said.

"They were acting very bravely. They certainly wanted to continue on their way to the call. This person had no business being in this ambulance," Nigro said.

Video posted on Twitter by a bystander shows the ambulance speeding across an intersection with one of its doors open, its lights flashing and the body of one of the EMTs being dragged beneath the vehicle.

Editor's Note: Due to the graphic nature of the video and out of respect for the FDNY, FDNY EMS and the Arroyo family, FFN will not post the video.

The ambulance then crashed into several parked cars and got stuck on a snowbank. A passing Metropolitan Transportation Authority K-9 officer subdued the 25-year-old suspect with the help of a bystander.

This still image taken from video shows police at the scene where Yadira Arroyo, 44, an emergency medical technician has died after she was run over by a stolen ambulance, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in the Bronx borough of New York. (WNYW FOX 5 NY via AP)

The other EMT was in the passenger seat of the ambulance as it was being stolen. She was being treated at a Bronx hospital for minor injuries, police said.

FDNY EMS Dispatch Dispatch Scanner Audio Two FDNY EMS workers ran over by their stolen ambulance, ScannerAudio

"I want to thank those good Samaritans who helped apprehend the perpetrator," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the hospital. "A lot of heroism was on display amidst a great tragedy."

Police did not immediately identify the man who was arrested.

Arroyo was a 14-year fire department veteran.

It is with deep regret that FDNY announces the line of duty death of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo. EMT Arroyo, 44, was assigned to Station 26 in the Bronx and bravely served the Department for 14 years. EMT Arroyo was critically injured while responding to a medical call in the Bronx when an individual seized control of her ambulance and struck her. She was transported to Jacobi Medical Center where she succumbed to her injuries. She is the 8th member of FDNY EMS to die in the line of duty, and the 1146th member of the Department to make the Supreme Sacrifice while serving our city. (Fire Department City of New York)

"We know our EMTs are brave. They do crucial work — they save lives — but they should not ever have to be subjected to violence. And yet, that danger always exists for them," de Blasio said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted late Thursday: "EMTs are heroes who help countless New Yorkers every day. Tonight's tragedy in the Bronx is horrible. My deepest sympathies to the family."

The video posted on Twitter captured both the arrest of the driver, and a scene of anguish as the second EMT kneeled, sobbing, over the body of her fallen partner.

Justin Lopez, 20, told the Daily News that he shot the video of the episode as his brother was driving.

"I was coming from the street, up to the red light and I just saw the ambulance, the sirens and lights, and I told my brother 'Look something's happening,' and then somebody just hopped in, and then he hit two cars and ran over the person," he said. "I realized he was hijacking the car."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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