A former Arizona State University basketball player who had just been released from a Mesa hospital allegedly stole an ambulance because he thought it was too hot to walk home, according to police.
On Tuesday, July 24, at 11:30 a.m., police responded to a call about a stolen ambulance at Banner Desert Hospital.
Police say Todd (Tanner) Shell, age 37, had just been released from the hospital for a heat-related situation.
When officers interviewed Shell after his arrest, he said when he came out of the hospital, "he thought it was too hot to walk home." He walked back toward the hospital when he found the ambulance running in the bay while the crew was dropping off another patient.
Police say Shell decided to take the ambulance at that point "so he wouldn't have to walk."
He also later admitted to police, "I did an unauthorized taking of the vehicle to get a sandwich, and it is a personal liberty to take it." He also told police it was, "certainly an irrational decision," according to the police report.
A GPS helped officers locate the ambulance driving eastbound on the U.S. 60.
Mesa officers and DPS troopers attempted to stop Shell, but they say he continued driving at normal speeds.
A short time later, Shell exited the freeway and stopped near Val Vista and University.
Shell told police that "he wanted to buy a sandwich, but needed to go home and get some money first."
He also said that he intended to return the ambulance after he got his sandwich.
The ambulance was not damaged and returned to service.
Shell was booked on one felony count of unlawful use of means of transportation, and one count of unlawful flight from law enforcement.
He played for the Sun Devils from 1999-2002.
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