10/7/23 Omaha, NE – Ambulance Stolen From Hospital – Firefighters Ran After It – Drove Against Oncoming Traffic – Stop Stick Used – Suspect Taken Into Custody

Man arrested after stealing ambulance from Vanderbilt

October 7, 2023


Omaha Police officers spent part of Saturday morning chasing down a stolen Council Bluffs ambulance, and the driver involved now faces charges in both Nebraska and Iowa.

OPD tells 6 News they were informed by Pottawattamie County authorities of a pursuit involving a Council Bluffs rescue squad around 7:30 a.m. Council Bluffs authorities later confirmed the ambulance had been taken from the emergency room unloading zone at Mercy Hospital. CBPD said there were no patients in the ambulance at the time; firefighters ran after the ambulance but were unable to catch up with it.

Omaha officers took over as the ambulance crossed into Nebraska. OPD said several stopsticks were deployed, but they were unsuccessful. The ambulance also drove against oncoming traffic at times. Their pursuit eventually stopped on Cuming Street, according to an OPD lieutenant.

CPBD crisis negotiators also reportedly used the fire scanner channel to negotiate with the suspect to get him to stop.

ABLE-1, OPD’s helicopter, was also called in to assist as the ambulance drove through northwest Omaha into Bennington; several cruisers had also slowly been following. 6 News crews saw the ambulance cut through the Westview High School parking lot as a soccer match was underway. The vehicle appeared to have a blown front tire and was smoking from its front end.

The driver, identified as Austin Risor, 29, eventually pulled over after a stopstick was successfully deployed in the area of Ida Street and Military Road, and he was taken into custody there — that was about two hours after the initial call. OPD says no one was injured, but there was at least one accident caused by the chase.

Risor has been booked into Douglas County Corrections on a hit-and-run charge, as well as theft by receiving, and flight to avoid arrest. He also had an outstanding warrant for being a work release absconder.

CBPD said Risor is also facing a first-degree theft charge in Iowa.