Joni Marie Sweet arrested after stealing ambulance from Phoenix hospital, leading officers on chase

PHOENIX - Police have identified a woman taken into custody after she allegedly stole an ambulance and led police in a pursuit through the West Valley Friday.

Joni Marie Sweet, 26, was booked into jail for motor vehicle theft, criminal damage and a prescription drug violation. Police said Sweet was in possession of a prescription drug that was not hers.

Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said Sweet took the ambulance around 5 p.m. from outside Phoenix Baptist Hospital at 20th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

The ambulance was left running in front of the hospital as the attendants went inside to get a patient, Holmes said.

Sweet took the ambulance and police broadcast the theft to all officers by police radio.

An on-duty reserve officer spotted the ambulance near 35th Avenue and Bethany Home Road and tried to stop the driver.

She refused to stop and patrol cars pulled back while a police helicopter followed Sweet in the ambulance.

Two officers began to negotiate with Sweet on the ambulance radio, trying to get her to pull over.

Click on the video player to hear the raw scanner traffic between the suspect and police.

Negotiations failed, Holmes said, and while at the intersection of 27th Avenue and Beardsley Road, officers from the Special Assignments Unit blocked the vehicle from all directions.

Holmes said Sweet made a minimal effort to push through the barricade but was taken into custody without further incident.

Holmes said there were no injuries during the incident and the only damage was to the ambulance.

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