published Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Chattanooga Police news: Man charged in ambulance theft

Man charged in ambulance theft

A 29-year-old man has been arrested after stealing an ambulance from an Erlanger hospital parking area Friday afternoon, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office officials said.

Hamilton County 911 dispatchers received a call at 2:09 p.m. about an ambulance from Memorial Healthcare being stolen from the Erlanger hospital emergency room parking lot.

The driver of the Memorial ambulance told deputies he dropped a patient off and then pulled out of the way because there was a lot of ambulance traffic. While he was cleaning in the rear of the vehicle, a man jumped into the driver's seat and pulled out of the lot into traffic.

The driver yelled for the man to stop but he just accelerated, according to the sheriff's office. The driver then reached through the window and pulled on the man. The man then jumped from the ambulance and ran toward the Whitehall Building on East Third Street.

Sheriff's officials said the suspect was found a short time later in a red Ford van parked in the Whitehall garage.

The suspect, identified as John Edward Shanks, 29, was taken into custody by deputies and charged with auto theft over $100,000, kidnapping, reckless endangerment and burglary of an auto. He was taken to the Hamilton County Jail for booking.

Shanks also has outstanding warrants in Catoosa County, Ga., and East Ridge.

Employee dies at Astec plant

Chattanooga police said the Astec employee who was killed at work early Friday morning was hit on the head.

A news release stated Rick Beck, 61, was preparing to attach the lower half of a silo to the upper half when the lower half shifted and hit him on the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Astec President Benjamin Brock said Beck was killed shortly after 5:30 a.m. Astec and the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the death, he said.

Beck worked at Astec for more than 33 years.

"[He] was well thought of by his peers and supervisor," Brock said in a statement Friday. "Our Astec family lost a good man today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

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