Woman in custody after allegedly stealing and crashing fire department ambulance

A woman allegedly stole an ambulance from outside an Arleta home while Los Angeles Fire Department personnel were inside giving medical aid and later crashed into two power poles during a police chase before being arrested early Saturday, authorities said.

Desiree Delatorre, 24, was not injured in the collisions and was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto, Los Angeles police Officer Jenny Houser said Saturday.

Fire department personnel emerged from the house in the 15500 block of West Rayen Street about 3:45 a.m. to find the ambulance, which they had left with its emergency lights still flashing, gone.

Police spotted the ambulance and chased it for about five miles on and off the 405 Freeway before it rammed into an electrical pole at Woodman and Osborne avenues but kept going, Houser said.

The ambulance stopped after hitting a second utility pole at Woodman and Ventura Canyon avenues, Houser said. At least one of the poles was sheared off in the crash, a fire department spokesman said.

Houser said the investigation was “too fresh” to discuss a motive.

Neither Houser nor a fire department spokesman could say whether the keys were left in the ambulance while paramedics were inside the house.

Delatorre is being held on $80,000 bail, Houser said.

The woman whose medical distress prompted the ambulance call declined to be taken to the hospital.

gholland@latimes.com

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