HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — A man suffering from a mental illness unbuckled himself from a stretcher, opened the back door of a moving ambulance and jumped out before he was struck and killed by a vehicle that then left the scene, a police official said Tuesday.
Frank Ligrnetta, 51, of Bay Shore, was being taken from Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island to a facility in Amityville on Monday evening when he fled out the back of the ambulance, said Tim Sini, deputy commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.
"This individual exited the vehicle as the ambulance was moving," Sini said. "He hit the ground. He was never standing, and he was run over shortly thereafter."
Sini said the ambulance was staffed by a driver and an attendant sitting in the back in a jump seat. He said the patient was sitting upright on a stretcher and was properly strapped in when he unbuckled himself.
"At this point there does not appear to be a struggle," Sini said.
Once Ligrnetta was out of the ambulance, which was traveling down a busy highway near an access ramp to the Long Island Expressway, he was struck and killed by a dark-colored sedan. That vehicle did not stop after hitting the man, Sini said.
The man's mental illness wasn't disclosed.
No arrest has been made in the hit-and-run.
The ambulance was impounded for a safety check; the investigation is continuing.
This story has been corrected to show that the dateline is spelled Holtsville, not Holtzvile, and that the patient was being taken from, not to, Stony Brook University Hospital.