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CHICAGO (WLS) — A man is in custody following a more than 70-mile police chase after stealing city ambulance in Chinatown Monday afternoon.

Police said at about 4:40 p.m. a Chicago Fire Department ambulance was parked in the 200-block of West Cermak. Police said it was stolen by an unknown offender while it was parked on the street in front of the firehouse.

The thief fled southbound in ambulance #66 onto the Stevenson Expressway, with police and Illinois State Police in pursuit, and eventually onto I-55 heading south into the southwest suburbs.

Shortly before 6:20 p.m. the ambulance slowed nearly to a stop and the driver appeared to be gesturing to and speaking with police out the window, before suddenly taking off again.

WATCH: Driver of stolen ambulance waves at police

Strips took out the ambulance’s back driver’s side tire but the chase continued on, with the bare rim smoking at times. By 6:30 p.m. the ambulance had made it about 70 miles southwest of the city, near Dwight, where the driver slowed to a stop and got out.

It briefly looked like the driver was going to surrender; he stepped over a fence divider between the highway and the grass median with a backpack and got onto his knees. There appeared to be an exchange of words with police and the suspect suddenly grabbed his backpack and took off on foot, running into the northbound lanes of I-55.

WATCH: Driver arrested for stealing ambulance after police chase

There he stopped a red truck hauling a trailer and attempted to get in the passenger door, but was unable to. He was then tackled by several officers and a K-9 unit and taken into custody on the side of the highway near the Streator-Kankakee exit.

The suspect was eventually taken away in an ambulance.

Traffic is stopped in both directions on I-55. It is not known how long the lanes will remain closed.

Police have not offered any further details about the circumstances of the theft. It was not known if there were any injuries to CFD personnel or to civilians. Officials said no one was in the ambulance when it was stolen.

This is a breaking news story. Check back with ABC7 Chicago for updates.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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