EMT Killed in the Bronx after Man Steals Ambulance

NY Daily News - March 17, 2017

by JOHN ANNESE KERRY BURKE GINGER ADAMS OTIS DENIS SLATTERY

An FDNY EMT and mother of five was killed and her partner was injured in the Bronx Thursday when a man stole their ambulance and drove into one of the first responders, sources and witnesses told the Daily News.

The nightmare unfolded in Soundview around 7:10 p.m. as the pair, both women, were responding to a call about a pregnant woman.

They were alerted that a man was riding on the back bumper of their ambulance, officials said.

The EMT, Yari Arroyo, a 44-year-old mother of five and a 14-year veteran of the the FDNY, died at Jacobi Hospital, where her partner, Monique Williams, 31, was treated for minor injuries, sources said.

Witness Anis Nagi, 40, said he and others flagged down the ambulance when they saw the suspect riding on the back.

The medics pulled over.

“The female EMT came out of the vehicle,” Nagi said. “She left the door open.”

As Arroyo tried to talk to the 25-year-old man, he hopped into the driver’s seat.

After a brief struggle, mayhem erupted in a matter of seconds.

The vehicle throttled backwards — and into Arroyo.

“He reversed so hard and she was dragged,” Nagi said. “He ran over her and she went under the wheels.”

Video of the horror shows the ambulance reversing into a green taxi before cutting across traffic.

Arroyo can be seen being dragged beneath the wheels of the massive vehicle. The ambulance then slammed onto the sidewalk and hits a parked car.

The EMT’s motionless body lies in the middle of the street.

“They were acting very bravely, they certainly wanted to continue on their way to the call,” FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro said after meeting with Williams and Arroyo’s family at Jacobi. “This person had no business being in this ambulance.”

Justin Lopez, 20, shot the video as his brother was driving toward the ambulance on White Plains Road.

“I was coming from the street, up to the red light and I just saw the ambulance, the sirens and lights, and I told my brother look something’s happening, and then somebody just hopped in, and then he hit two cars and ran over the person,” he said. “I realized he was hijacking the car.”

An FDNY EMS dispatcher called frantically for an EMS worker in need of assistance just after the incident.

“Get going, get going, get going, get going, get going!” the dispatcher called out.

A second video shows the stunning aftermath of the carnage.

As an off-duty MTA police officer and subdued the suspect, Williams wailed in horror over her partner before trying to kick the man. Nancy Montavo, an office manager, said the screams will haunt her.

“She was screaming ‘my partner, my partner.’ She was screaming hysterically. I can’t forget her screaming,” Montavo said. “All the police came running and they put her in an ambulance.”

Mayor de Blasio joined Nigro and other officials at Hospital Thursday night.

"We know our EMTs are brave and do crucial work, they save lives, they should not ever have to be subjected to violence, yet the danger always exists for them," the mayor said.

Gov. Cuomo tweeted, “EMTs are heroes who help countless New Yorkers every day. Tonight’s tragedy in the Bronx is horrible. My deepest sympathies to the family.”

The NYPD had the suspect, who was not immediately identified, in custody Thursday.