Mental patient appears in court, charged with stealing ambulance - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mental patient appears in court, charged with stealing ambulance

Johnny Carter, 36, was identified as a mental illness patient in court Wednesday.  (Source: Muscogee County Jail) Johnny Carter, 36, was identified as a mental illness patient in court Wednesday. (Source: Muscogee County Jail)
Carter allegedly jumped the curve and headed on 13th Street where he lost control of the wheel and crashed in to PTAP's showroom, about a mile from the hospital. Carter allegedly jumped the curve and headed on 13th Street where he lost control of the wheel and crashed in to PTAP's showroom, about a mile from the hospital.

Johnny Carter, 36, was identified as a mental patient in court Wednesday.  Police said he had been admitted to Columbus Regional for a psychiatric evaluation when he stole the ambulance just before midnight Monday. 

Carter's mother did not speak in court, but told News Leader 9 her son has suffered from Schizophrenia since high school. 

Carter was admitted to the hospital after arriving by ambulance Monday. His mom adds, he was acting strange and could not recognize her.

Carter's sister told the court Wednesday, a nurse told her she would be with Carter until her shift ended at 11:00pm, but left around 8 p.m.

Authorities say the ambulance driver and nurses attempted to stop Carter but were unsuccessful.  Carter allegedly dragged the driver about 20 feet before jumping in the ambulance and taking off.

Once behind the wheel, Carter jumped the curve and headed on 13th Street where he lost control of the wheel and crashed in to PTAP's (Perfect Touch Automotive Playground) showroom, about a mile from the hospital. 

 When police arrived, Carter was laying on the floor with several cuts to his head.  Police said Carter told him, ‘Voices inside his head told him to steal the ambulance.' 

The damaged caused by the joyride are estimated to cost close to $200,000 – PTAP ($45,000); Ambulance ($150,000).

Carter faces charges of aggravated assault ($15,000), theft of motor vehicle ($50,000), damage to property ($50,000), crossing a center lane and striking a fixed object ($250).  The case has been bounded over to superior court.

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