Driver takes stolen firetruck on joyride through Orange County

A man kneels beside a firetruck.
A man suspected of stealing a firetruck follows police commands at the end of a pursuit in Anaheim early Tuesday.

A man who authorities say stole a firetruck outside a hospital in the city of Orange and then led police on a pursuit across Orange County was arrested Tuesday morning.

Paramedics were dropping off a patient at UC Irvine Medical Center and two other firefighters were loading equipment onto the truck when a man jumped in and drove off, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg Barda said. The man drove through several cities in Orange County after stealing the firetruck around 1:40 a.m., authorities said.

Police were able to locate and follow the ladder truck by using its GPS equipment. At one point during the pursuit, the driver struck a guardrail with the firetruck’s right front side but continued on.


The man traveled for more than an hour on the 5 and 405 freeways before stopping on Brookhurst Street and Ball Road in Anaheim. He tried to reverse the truck several times at low speed. Video shows that while police ordered him to surrender, an unidentified pedestrian walked to the front of the truck and talked with the driver through the windshield.

The driver stepped out of the firetruck and was taken into custody around 3 a.m. Forrest Thompson, 36, of Anaheim was booked into Orange County Central Men’s Jail on suspicion of unlawful taking of a vehicle, according to the UCI Police Department.