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DC woman steals ambulance, honks, waves at bystanders prior to arrest: witnesses

A 46-year-old Washington, D.C., woman is facing charges after stealing an ambulance and leading police on a chase before being apprehended.

A woman recently stole an ambulance in Southeast Washington, D.C., and led police on a chase before being arrested, according to authorities and video pertaining to the incident.

The incident involving the stolen ambulance, which was taken from the 3600 block of 22nd Street SE around 10:35 a.m. last Wednesday, took place as emergency crews were treating a patient in a nearby apartment building, according to authorities.

First responders were called to the scene after receiving a call for a "person down" inside the residence. While treating the patient inside the complex, the woman was able to steal the ambulance left outside.

EMS personnel remained on scene and finished treating the patient, who was later transported by American Medical Response for additional treatment by another ambulance that arrived, according to a statement released by District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

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The woman was identified by the Metropolitan Police Department as 46-year-old Francine Lula Hilton of Southeast Washington, D.C., who, after stealing the ambulance, drove around the area as police trailed her.

Following the police chase, the ambulance, which reportedly did not have any damage, was recovered nearby at 22nd and Savannah Street, Southeast.

Hilton, who was arrested by police and taken in for questioning following the incident, faces numerous charges, including theft in the first degree, unauthorized use of a vehicle and fleeing from law enforcement.

Maurice Evans, who was working inside one of the apartment units at the time of the incident, told NBC4 Washington he witnessed Hilton get into the ambulance and attempt to start the vehicle.

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"I saw the lady standing there, and then she just jumped in the ambulance, put on the uniform and [was] trying to start it. I was like, ‘Oh, this is not good,’" Evans recalled.

Video from the incident showed Hilton driving the ambulance down the street while honking the horn and appearing to wave at those standing alongside the road.

Hilton was trailed by five police officers and three motorcycles after she stole the ambulance, according to Kenneth Davis, another individual who spoke with NBC4.

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No patients were inside the ambulance when it was stolen, and no injuries were reported from the incident, which took place about five miles away from Capitol Hill.

According to data from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, almost all crimes have soared from this time last year. As of Nov. 15, violent crime overall in the nation's capital is up 39%, while property crime overall is up 25%.

Motor vehicle theft, specifically, is up 98% compared to the same time last year, the data shows.

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