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Psych Patient Killed After Escaping Ambulance on Highway

Associated Press

June 04, 2010

DETROIT – A mentally ill man was killed Thursday night in the middle of Interstate 94 in St. Joseph Township, police said.

The man, John Cameron Rivera of Detroit, was being transported to Lakeland Emergency medical Center in St. Joe, Michigan for psychological evaluation when he started fighting with medics in the back of an ambulance, police said.

The driver stopped on the shoulder of I-94 at the 27-mile marker to help calm down Rivera, who was 46, said Officer Mike Lanier of the St. Joseph Township Police Department.

The driver then called police at 10:05 p.m. and informed them that a man who was paranoid schizophrenic had jumped out of the back an ambulance and was running south on Palladium Drive, Lanier said.

“We had several officers were on the scene within a minute or so,” Lanier said.

Police were canvassing the area looking for Rivera when they learned that he had backtracked and had been hit by a car at 10:24 while walking eastbound on I-94, Lanier said.

“When I arrived on scene, it was obviously a fatality,” Lanier said. “No signs of life, whatsoever.”

An eastbound lane of I-94 starting at mile marker 26 was closed for the investigation for a couple of hours, Lanier said.