Man sentenced to 5 years for stealing ambulance, crashing it

by: Tom Jones Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The man who stole an ambulance with two paramedics inside and crashed it has pleaded guilty.
Frank Ponquinette, 37, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, theft by taking and interference with government property.
Ponquinette shed tears as his attorney, Timothy Cook, explained to a judge how he was dehydrated and delirious when he stole the ambulance last June.
Prosecutors say Ponquinette walked out of Emory Hospital wearing a hospital coat and purple latex gloves and jumped into the ambulance, which was parked out front.
"He noticed the two EMS employees in the back and told them to... 'they better hang on,'" DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Shannon Hodder said.
Hodder said the paramedics were trapped in the back as Ponquinette locked the doors and drove erratically, running red lights and hitting objects.
During the drive, Ponquinette did ask paramedic Christopher Roberts how to turn on the emergency lights and siren.
Once he crashed into a home on Church Street and surrendered, Ponquinette told nurses he wasn't on his meds and had been hallucinating.
Prosecutors asked for 10 years, with five to be served behind bars, since the paramedics suffered injuries.
But DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gail Flake decided Ponquinette needed help for his mental and drug problems. She sentenced him to five years, with two behind bars.
Before all of that, prosecutors revealed the reason Ponquinette said he stole the ambulance.
"He did what God wanted him to do, which was to help people and that was the reason he took the ambulance," Hodder said.
Flake also said Ponquinette could serve his sentence in a diversion treatment program if he could get in one.
One of the paramedics wanted him to serve serious jail time, since he thought Ponquinette knew exactly what he was doing when he drove off in the ambulance.