A fire truck reportedly stolen from downtown Truckee didn’t get far down the road before the heist came to an abrupt end, as the driver crashed the SUV into another vehicle in Tahoe City shortly after climbing behind the wheel.
Kelsey Heard, 26, of Sandy, Utah, reportedly attempted to evade law enforcement before the crash, reported at 11:34 a.m. on State Route 89 South and Sequoia Avenue, causing minor injuries to another driver.
Heard was arrested and charged with stealing a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, willful fleeing and driving under the influence of drugs, according to Sgt. Darin Heredia of the California Highway Patrol.
The 2008 Ford Explorer, valued at around $6,500, was parked at Station 91 in downtown Truckee with the keys in the car, said Truckee Fire Chief Bill Seline. The vehicle was being used by a prevention officer and had been parked for a couple hours.
“We’re not exactly sure what time it was stolen,” Seline said.
After realizing it was gone, Seline said the fire department used an iPad mapping system in the vehicle to track its location. They noticed it was on the west end of Lake Tahoe and alerted law enforcement. When officers tried to pull the vehicle over, Heard reportedly tried to evade them and crashed into another car.
“The front end damage looked pretty impressive,” said Seline, who added he was confident the department’s insurance company would declare the vehicle totaled.
Seline said the door to the truck was most likely unlocked when it was stolen, which is not uncommon for emergency vehicles in case it has to be utilized immediately.
“We try to be ready to go on responses. We try to do everything to help people in an emergency,” he said. “We have to probably think differently about security now and about what we can do to secure those vehicles,” he said, adding the fire department may have some policy changes in the future.