Woman sentenced in hijack of ambulance


POSTED: Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A 23-year-old Punchbowl woman will remain in custody for five more months before being released on probation for hijacking a city ambulance while emergency medical workers were still inside tending to a patient.

Saralyn Lopes had pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, second-degree assault and driving without a license for the March 5 hijacking in Kakaako.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn sentenced her yesterday to five years' probation and nine months in jail but credited Lopes with the four months she has already been in custody.

Ahn told Lopes the hijacking was “;an extremely dangerous situation that we just can't permit in this society.”;

The patient, a woman, was being tended to for having difficulty breathing.

Lopes was facing up to 10 years in prison.

Ahn commended her for accepting responsibility and pleading guilty so quickly. She also noted Lopes had no criminal history.

Lopes apologized for her actions and “;for the patient.”;

Her lawyer said Lopes was high on drugs, intoxicated and had just received some bad news when she got behind the wheel of the ambulance.