Accused JFRD rescue unit thief apologizes

By Vic Micolucci, News4Jax reporter, and Nicole Nora, intern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man accused of driving away Baptist Medical Center South on Wednesday in a stolen Jacksonville rescue unit apologized for his actions.

Police said Ezickel Ford, 54, was driven to the hospital in Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Unit 54. Investigators said he later walked out and got into the parked ambulance that was still running outside.

Police said Ford drove the rescue unit about 4 miles to his Mandarin home. Officers were able to track it down very quickly because the ambulances have GPS tracking devices.

Ford doesn't deny that he stole the ambulance, he just doesn't remember it.

Ford said a pharmacy error caused him to accidentally overdose on pain medication, and that's why he hopped inside and drove away.

"I apologize for what happened, but under this medication, everything really was a blur," Ford said.

Dr. Gary Roberts, a pharmacist who's not involved in the case, said the medications hydrocodone and acetaminophen -- a combination known as Vicodin -- that Ford took are powerful and have been known to have strong side effects, especially if someone accidentally overdoses.

"While it is not considered a mind-altering drug," Roberts said, "when you take too much it can cause mental and physical impairment. It can cause mental cloudiness, and it also can cause dysphoria which is a restlessness or an anxiousness."

Ford was released from jail Thursday night. Ford said he's looking into why the pharmacy made the mistake and said he will cooperate with police.

It was the second time in a week a JFRD ambulance was taken. Another ambulance was stolen by an unidentified person from St. Vincent's Medical Center and dumped about 1 mile away.

JFRD said it is working on changing protocol for leaving ambulances running because they do not want this to happen again.

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