THE driver of a stolen ambulance died after he crashed into a double-decker bus shortly after stealing the vehicle.
North Yorkshire Police were actively looking for the ambulance when it crashed into a Coastliner bus on the A64 at Flaxton, near York.
The driver of the bus suffered series leg injuries and five of the 16 passengers were taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries.
Police said the privately-owned ambulance had been reported stolen around 20 minutes before the crash took place on Friday evening.
The driver of the ambulance, who was the only person in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said the ambulance driver was not a paramedic and was not a member of the ambulance company’s staff.
The ambulance was run by the Leeds-based company ERS Medical which transports a range of patients, including those from police stations, prisons, psychiatric settings and hospitals.
The company’s ambulance had been reported stolen at about 8.10pm – around 20 minutes before the crash which happened at around 8.30pm.
A Toyota Yaris car containing two people was also involved in the collision. A woman in the Yaris was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
Police said the stolen ambulance was travelling east, away from York, and the bus was heading west towards York when they collided at the Flaxton junction.
A police spokesman said: “The driver of the private ambulance, who was the only person in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The vehicle had been reported stolen to North Yorkshire Police at about 8.10pm the same day. Officers were actively looking for the vehicle when police were notified of this collision.”
The A64 was closed in both directions overnight while collision investigators examined the scene. It reopened at about 6am on Saturday.
Sergeant Ian Pope, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, said: “I am asking anyone who witnessed the incident, or any of the vehicles involved prior to the collision, to contact the police. Please call North Yorkshire Police on 101, press option 1 and pass information to the Force Control Room. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A spokesman for Leeds-based ERS Medical said: “We can confirm that one of our vehicles was involved in an incident on the A64 on Friday.
“We are working closely with all the agencies and helping them with their ongoing enquiries. Our thoughts are with all those concerned.”
A spokesperson for bus company Coastliner: “Our thoughts go out to everyone involved, including our driver and his family. We’re doing all we can to help the police in their enquiries.”