12.21.2021 | 1:40 AM | ANAHEIM – A man who stole a fire truck before leading police on a slow-speed pursuit was stopped by a good samaritan who jumped in front of the apparatus, early Tuesday morning.
The incident began to unfold when firefighters from Orange County Fire Authority Truck 85 reported that an individual stole their apparatus from UCI Medical Center, located in the 100 block of The City Drive South, around 1:40 AM.
Using GPS officers quickly located the rig traveling southbound on the I-5 Freeway and attempted to perform a traffic stop.
The driver of the stolen rig failed to yield to officers, prompting a pursuit that continued along the southbound I-5 and SR-133 freeways before returning northbound on the I-405 Freeway.
At one point the driver collided with a number of cones marking a lane closure before sideswiping a guardrail near Euclid Street.
The chase continued onto city streets when the driver exited at Brookhurst Street and headed northbound.
Eventually a person experiencing homelessness jumped in front of the pursuit, forcing the driver of the stolen truck to come to a stop in southbound lanes of Brookhurst Street near West Ball Road in Anaheim.
The homeless individual stood in front of the truck while talking to the suspect and urging him to give up for about 15 minutes before the suspect surrendered and was taken into police custody without further incident.
The driver was later identified as 36-year-old Forrest Jay Thompson, of Anaheim, and booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of unlawfully taking of a special motor vehicle. He is being held in lieu of $5,001.
When interviewed the homeless man said he intervened so that the suspect would not end up being hurt by police.
It was unclear why the man stole the fire truck or how much the damage to the truck might cost to repair.
One bag was reportedly missing from the fire truck although it is unclear if it fell off during the pursuit or was taken by someone else.