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Three Injured After R.I. Boy Crashes Ambulance

The Providence Journal, R.I.

Aug. 25—The Coventry Police Department on Friday released video of a local juvenile driving and crashing an ambulance, injuring himself and two others.

Police officers responded around 8 p.m. Thursday to a call from a mother who needed help with her son, who is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism, who was walking along Route 117, according to police.

The officers attempted to calm the boy, who was excited and unsettled, and eventually convinced him to visit a nearby fire station for an evaluation, according to a news release.

The police transported mother and son to Central Coventry Fire Station #7, at 2847 Flat River Road, where they were met by rescue workers. It's then that police say the juvenile ran into the garage and got into an ambulance, locking the driver's side door, starting the vehicle and putting it into drive.

Firefighter Scott Brown tried to get into the ambulance, which struck a parked police SUV, after exiting the garage, the police say. Brown continued to hang on to the ambulance as the juvenile drove toward the road, before being thrown onto the road.

A motorcycle, which according to police was driven by Nicholas Croce IV, was traveling eastbound collided with the ambulance as it crossed over Route 117, the police said.

The juvenile, Brown and Croce all suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital for evaluation. The motorcycle driver was treated and released, after suffering a broken left finger, according to the release.

The police and fire officials are examining their protocols and procedures, in response to the incident, the police said.

Coventry Police Chief John MacDonald commended Brown for his bravery and for crawling toward and assisting the motorcycle driver after being injured himself.

MacDonald issued this message: "For all the first responders involved in this incident, it brings into acute focus the challenges that parents, caregivers, and children experience when dealing with autism and other disabilities. It also reminds us of the difficulties our officers and firefighters face," MacDonald said.

"We are grateful that this incident did not result in serious injuries or loss of life. Our thoughts today are with the mother and family of this juvenile who we are struggling with the aftermath of this incident," MacDonald said.

"We commend the dedication and resiliency it requires of parents that wake daily to meet the challenges presented in caring for a child or adult with autism," he continued.

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