Smithton man charged with stealing Pittsburgh EMS wagon outside PPG Paints Arena, crashing in Forest Hills

Smithton man charged with stealing Pittsburgh EMS wagon outside PPG Paints Arena, crashing in Forest Hills

Updated 9 minutes ago

Shortly before midnight Saturday, a Westmoreland County man allegedly stole a Pittsburgh Medic wagon parked outside PPG Paints Arena in response to a medical emergency at a Kid Rock concert, police said.

About 20 minutes later, the van smashed into an Audi sport-utility vehicle on Ardmore Boulevard in Forest Hills.

Police there arrested Matthew King, 24, of Smithton. He remained in the Allegheny County Jail on Sunday, charged by Pittsburgh police with one count each of criminal mischief, theft and receiving stolen property as well as multiple counts of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence.

According to a criminal complaint, Medic District Chief Jennifer McDermott-Grubb told police that she arrived at the Uptown arena around 11:45 p.m., locked her vehicle and went inside. When she returned minutes later, it was gone.

She told police she alerted dispatchers and gave them the description of a man — shirtless with tattoos and wearing jeans — she saw standing on a sidewalk near her vehicle when she arrived.

A witness who was staying at the Cambria Suites hotel similarly described King to police. She also recorded video of the incident on her cell phone.

That video shows a shirtless man walking around the medical vehicle and peering in the windows. He then goes over to and opens the driver’s side door, gets inside and drives away, heading outbound on Centre Avenue.

Authorities, according to the complaint, monitored the van’s location and speed using a GPS tracking system. They watched as it made its way out of the city, into Wilkinsburg and finally into Forest Hills, where it stopped at the corner of Ardmore and Marion Street.

A Forest Hills police officer responded to that location and discovered the van had crashed into a white Audi. The SUV was pushed into Roman Bistro restaurant, shattering a front window and damaging the building’s facade.

Police said two passengers in the Audi were taken to UPMC Mercy for treatment. Details of their injuries were not reported.

Forest Hills police arrested King, who McDermott-Grubb identified as the man who she saw outside the arena.

Police said King also appeared to be intoxicated, “swaying while standing, had glassy eyes, and had breath that smelled of an alcoholic beverage,” the complaint stated.

King was taken to Allegheny General Hospital for a medical clearance and was treated for a broken collarbone before being taken to jail.

A preliminary hearing is set for March 22. Online court records do not list an attorney for him.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702,, or on Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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Published at Mon, 12 Mar 2018 01:18:59 +0000

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