Maryland man steals ambulance responding to Arlington crash, leaving 13 hit-and-runs in wake

A stolen ambulance caused 13 hit-and-run crashes on August 12.(Courtesy Virginia State Police)

A driver who crashed a stolen vehicle in Arlington County, Virginia, on Saturday stole an ambulance responding to that collision, later colliding with 13 vehicles as he made his way into to the District, police say.

Brandywine, Maryland, resident Darell T. Caldwell, 30, was identified by Virginia State Police as the man behind the ambulance chase. The stolen ambulance ended its journey after crashing into another vehicle in D.C., where the driver was arrested.

Initial crash on I-66

Before stealing the ambulance, police said Caldwell was driving a stolen truck that caused a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 66, near mile marker 74. State troopers responded to that crash at 3:40 p.m.

Caldwell left the scene of the crash and the other driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Stolen ambulance involved in 13 hit-and-runs

Minutes later, officers responded to another nearby crash in the northbound lanes of Interstate 395 near exit 10, allegedly involving the same truck Caldwell was driving. He fled the scene of the that crash on foot, police said.

While Arlington County fire officials were responding to another crash allegedly involving Caldwell on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, he stole an attending ambulance and drove off. That’s when medics waved down a state trooper at the scene to stop the ambulance, police said.

“When the ambulance refused to stop for the trooper, a pursuit was initiated. At one point, the ambulance stopped in the road. As the trooper was getting out of his patrol car, Caldwell put the ambulance in reverse, rammed the state police vehicle and fled the scene,” a Virginia State Police statement read.

During the chase, officials said the ambulance made its way onto I-395 and entered the District, hitting a vehicle parked near the intersection of 14th and D Streets in Northwest head-on. An unidentified person inside the parked vehicle had minor injuries.

A Virginia State Police trooper was struck multiple times by a stolen ambulance. (Courtesy Virginia State Police)

“During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance struck multiple vehicles and again rammed the trooper’s patrol car. At this time, state police have accounted for and are investigating 13 hit-and-run crashes committed by the stolen ambulance,” the department said.

Caldwell was arrested and taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. VSP says he has been charged by local and federal law enforcement, with Virginia state charges pending.

Police said no serious injuries have been reported from the rapid series of hit-and-runs, and no injuries were reported among law enforcement. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

Emily Venezky

Emily Venezky is a digital writer/editor at WTOP. Emily grew up listening to and reading local news in Los Angeles, and she’s excited to cover stories in her chosen home of the DMV. She recently graduated from The George Washington University, where she studied political science and journalism.

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