A 42-year-old Wissinoming man is facing a litany of charges after authorities say he stole an ambulance Friday night and led police on a car chase throughout Northeast Philly for more than an hour.
Mark Giwerowski, of the 4100 block of Creston Street, was responsible for the chase, police said, and for keeping many Northeast residents glued to their television sets as helicopters hovered over the scene.
It all started at the Roosevelt Inn, 7600 Roosevelt Blvd. in Rhawnhurst, when hotel security saw a 43-year-old woman running from a room and screaming for help. They saw Giwerowski, who was bleeding from the face, follow her out, authorities said.
Firefighters and EMTs arrived on the scene and tried to help Giwerowski, who became combative, according to police.
Officers arrived as Giwerowski ran toward the ambulance and tried to make his escape. He put the vehicle in reverse, hitting 2nd District Officer Timothy Kelley with the driver’s side door, authorities said. The ambulance nearly hit a second officer and crashed into their squad car, according to police.
Giwerowski, police said, ignored the commands of officers and began driving toward Kelley, a 27-year veteran of the force. Kelley fired at Giwerowski, hitting him through the ambulance’s door, police said.
During the chase, which spanned multiple neighborhoods, the ambulance crashed into a car at Cottman Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard; hit an unoccupied police car at Tyson and the Boulevard; and struck two other empty police vehicles on the 6100 block of Frankford Avenue, authorities said.
State Police deployed “spike strips,” which flattened the ambulance’s tires, and the chase finally ended on the 2700 block of Tolbut Street. Officers used a taser during a struggle with Giwerowski before arresting him, police said.
Giwerowski was taken to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in critical condition with three gunshot wounds to his legs, according to police.
He was charged with robbery, carjacking, fleeing police, multiple counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, among other offenses, authorities announced Monday.
Kelley, the officer who fired at Giwerowski, was treated for injuries at Nazareth Hospital and released.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department will be thoroughly investigating Kelley’s use-of-force and the handling of the chase.
“While we are relieved that injuries to all involved weren’t more severe, the discharging of a firearm remains the most serious action a police officer can undertake,” she said in a statement. ••