UTICA, N.Y. – The Buffalo woman accused of driving a stolen ambulance from Utica into the Irondequoit Bay on June 13 told police she doesn’t know how she got there, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint says Vanessa Armstead, 32, told the arresting officer “I took it from the station, I was trying to get away from him. I was driving to Buffalo I don’t know how I got there. I drove into the water to stop.”
Armstead allegedly stole the vehicle from Kunkel Ambulance on Catherine Street Sunday after leaving Union Train Station. Utica police say Armstead was involved in a crash on the Thruway on Saturday, and was taken to St. Elizabeth’s for treatment. After leaving the hospital Sunday, she went to the train station.
After the ambulance was stolen, police unsuccessfully tried to stop it twice on the Thruway, but the pursuit continued all the way to Monroe County, where she drove the ambulance into the water down a boat ramp at the Newport Yacht Club. She was rescued from the water by nearby boaters.
The manager of the yacht club told police Armstead drove through a closed gate, causing an estimated $3,000 - $4,000 worth of damage to the gate and cement on the ramp.
Armstead is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Utica police also charged her with burglary and grand larceny.