KNOXVILLE — Authorities on Thursday stopped a Rural/Metro ambulance stolen from an Alabama hospital as it pulled into a North Knoxville driveway.
Behind the wheel of the ambulance was 55-year-old Kurt Vogler, who had been arrested last month outside Grace Baptist Church after he was talking about shooting a hospital security guard.
Vogler was charged with theft in connection with the ambulance incident. Knoxville Police Department Officer A. Stonerock first had seen the ambulance about 6:30 p.m. traveling on Tillery Road, according to records. The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled the ambulance over as Vogler pulled into his driveway on Wandering Road, records show.
The ambulance appeared undamaged after its 200-mile journey and was taken to the Police Department’s impound lot.
Erin Downey, Rural/Metro Ambulance regional director for East Tennessee, said the basic life support vehicle was taken about 1 p.m. Thursday from the emergency room bay of Riverview Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Ala.
The ambulance crew was picking up a patient for transport to another facility when the theft occurred, Downey said. Because it was the crew’s first transport of the day, Downey said there was no patient information in the ambulance when it was stolen.
“The keys were in the vehicle,” Downey said.
It’s unclear how Vogler got to Alabama, but it appears he was taken to a mental facility in Chattanooga after his 12:48 p.m. Oct. 30 arrest outside Grace Baptist Church, 7171 Oak Ridge Highway. Records show Knox County sheriff’s officers charged him with harassment after he “made the statement that he almost shot a security guard at a hospital” the previous day.
Records state on Oct. 28 Vogler caused a disturbance in the emergency room at Parkwest Medical Center, 9352 Park West Blvd., in West Knoxville and was ordered to leave. He promptly returned, however, and as a nursing supervisor tried to calm him, Vogler “produced a black zippered bag and claimed to have a gun,” records state.
“Do you know how close this place came to being on the six o’clock news, I am an excellent marksman,” a witness said she heard Vogler say, according to court records.
On Oct. 29, records state, a patient representative at Parkwest Medical Center, listened to a voice message left the previous day minutes after Vogler had been removed from the hospital.
“You don’t want what I’m about to do to these men if you don’t let me back there to see my wife,” the message said, according to records.