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EMT Struck, Killed By Own Ambulance In The Bronx

UPDATED 03/17/17 12:07 a.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An FDNY emergency medical technician was killed Thursday night when a man got into her ambulance and struck her with it in the Bronx, according to authorities.

NYPD Deputy Chief Jason Wilcox said around 7:05 p.m., the two EMTs – both women – were responding to a call when a passing driver said someone was riding the back bumper of the ambulance.

The EMT driving the ambulance pulled over and got out along with her partner.

At that point, the man who had been riding on the bumper went around the other side and got behind the wheel of the ambulance, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

The EMT who had been a passenger in the ambulance struggled with the suspect was also left injured in the middle of the street. She suffered minor injuries, Wilcox said.

The EMT who had been driving also struggled with the suspect, who struck her with the ambulance, Wilcox said. She was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center.

"They were acting very brave. They certainly wanted to continue on their way to that call," Nigro said. "The person had no business being in this ambulance."

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, dramatic cellphone video shows the stolen ambulance whipping around the corner and striking the EMT – leaving her injured in the middle of the street.

Justin Lopez took the video as he watched the scene unfold with other stunned onlookers.

"All I see was the ambulance with the lights on the corner, and I'm wondering what's happening, but I didn't know it was something big," Lopez said. "But then I see from far, I see a little tussle and somebody hop in the car, and then I see the person getting run over."

Lopez's video shows the passenger EMT visibly upset at the scene.

Witnesses said a rush of first responders came to the EMTs' aid, but knew it wasn't good.

"You can tell when somebody was not in good condition," a witness said.

"Her body was lifeless, pretty much," another man added.

The EMT who was killed was identified as Yadira Arroyo, 44. She was a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, and a mother of five, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Yadira Arroyo
FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo was struck and killed by a hijacked ambulance in the Bronx on Thursday, March 16, 2017. (Credit: FDNY)

"She started her shift today like every other today, and then a senseless act of violence takes her life," de Blasio said at the hospital.

Nigro said the loss was the latest among many.

"No matter how many times we do this, it does not make it any easier," Nigro said.

He said the EMT was the eighth member of the FDNY Emergency Medical Services section to be killed on duty, the third woman, and the 1,146th member of the department as a whole.

Meanwhile at the intersection, the suspect proceeded forward in the hijacked ambulance and slammed into a parked car on the other side of the street, Wilcox said. The ambulance ended up getting stuck in a snowbank with its tires spinning and smoke coming out.

The impact startled residents in their homes. One woman was too shaken to appear on camera.

"Just like a boom, and which obviously made us jump to kind of look out and see what was going on," the woman said. "It was just really crazy."

The suspect was brought down by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority police K9 officer who happened to be headed south on White Plains Road at the time, as well as another bystander, officials said.

Mayor de Blasio said the MTA officer "intervened heroically and decisively."

The NYPD said several Good Samaritans in the area rushed in to help, not only to keep the suspect in custody, but also to help the victims at the scene.

Following the incident, there was tremendous heartache among neighbors for the EMTs who were just out doing their jobs.

"It is always devastating for family. For that to happen, and you know, she is out here helping other people," a witness said. "It's bad."

The loss was also being felt heavily Thursday night throughout the FDNY and the victim's family, CBS2's Valerie Castro reported.

"It's a sad night for everybody in the department," Nigro said. "We will stand by each and every family member of this EMT and each and every member of our department."

Charges against the suspect were pending late Thursday.

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