Kingston, Luzerne County — Kingston’s three ambulances were all accounted for Thursday afternoon but that wasn’t the case early Sunday morning when someone stole Medic 13. It happened Sunday morning around 4:30 at Geisinger Wyoming Valley in Plains Township. Police say an ambulance had just brought a patient to the emergency room when 55-year-old in-hospital patient David Karosus of Carbondale left the ER, jumped in the ambulance that was left running and drove off.
A Geisinger employee immediately called Luzerne County 911 dispatchers who took over from there. “They immediately implemented a command in our map system basically using GPS technology to track exactly where the ambulance was going,” said Luzerne County 911 Director Fred Rosencrans. He helped demonstrate to Eyewitness News the technology called AVL — or Automatic Vehicle Location. While designed to follow first responders to and from their emergency calls, the technology allowed dispatchers in this instance to track the ambulance’s every move from Luzerne County into Lackawanna County along Interstates 81 and 84. “As soon as we began mapping and plotting where the vehicle was headed, we were immediately on the phone with the state police notifying them and any surrounding police departments.”
Kingston Fire Chief Frank Guido is pleased that 911 dispatchers were able to use the high tech tool to retrieve the stolen ambulance. “They tracked it right to the Elmhurst exit of 84, told the state police and it was a great success.” Chief Guido is relieved that no one was hurt and that an expensive, life-saving vehicle was unscathed thanks to AVL. “Without that in place in our vehicles and in place at the 911 Center, heaven knows what would have happened to that ambulance.” Chief Guido said his department is reviewing policy procedures concerning leaving emergency vehicles idling following the ambulance theft.
Mr. Karosus is jailed on $10,000 bail for charges including theft and driving with a suspended license because of DUI. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on November 10th. As for a motive, police say Karosus became impatient while getting hospital treatment, saw the ambulance and swiped it.