Ohio State Highway Patrol car

MANSFIELD -- A Wooster man captured after escaping from a private ambulance on Interstate 71 southbound Friday -- before authorities say he stole and ditched a pickup truck near Lucas -- faces two local criminal charges.

Travis Thornburg, 41, is being charged with theft of a motor vehicle by the Richland County Sheriff's Department and menacing by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, according to sheriff's Maj. Joe Masi.

The vehicle theft is a fourth-degree felony. Menacing is a misdemeanor.

Travis Thornburg

Travis Thornburg

Thornburg, 7103 Rohrer Road, was being transported via ambulance from Wooster to Columbus around 10 a.m. when he threatened the ambulance crew, which pulled over, allowing the man to flee into the nearby woods, according to the Mansfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Masi said Thornburg had voluntarily committed himself into Wooster Community Hospital prior to the transport to Columbus, reportedly feeling homicidal and suicidal.

"The patient, who was not restrained, threatened the (private) ambulance driver with harm unless he pulled over and let him out. The ambulance stopped and let the patient out on I-71 southbound at milepost 174,"  state patrol Lt. Robert Sellers said. "The patient stole a red Ford F-350 from a residence west of IR71.

"At the time of the escape, he was wearing a hospital gown but did take a bag of personal belongings with him," Sellers said.

According to sheriff's department Capt. James Sweat, the truck was a 2004 pickup stolen from property at 1945 Hickory Lane.

Thornburg reportedly abandoned the stolen red Ford near Lucas, where he was found hiding in the woods after the patrol, sheriff's department and U.S. Marshals had established a perimeter.

A resident in the 1900 block of Cemetery Road near Lucas called the sheriff's department just after 11 a.m. and described seeing the suspect and stolen vehicle, which was on her property.

The suspect obeyed verbal commands and surrendered to a state trooper without incident on Hanley Road near Berry Road and is in custody, said Lt. Robert Sellers. Thornburg was taken to the Richland County Jail.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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