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Alleged medical van thief faces felonies

Roy Vincent Aguirre

The man who allegedly stole a medical van from the Brainerd hospital parking lot and drove it through downtown faces two felonies and a misdemeanor as a result.

Roy Vincent Aguirre, 50, of Breezy Point, made his second appearance Monday, Nov. 5, at Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd. Aguirre was charged with theft of a motor vehicle and first-degree damage to property, both felonies, and misdemeanor reckless driving.

At 2:40 p.m. Oct. 30, Brainerd police and Crow Wing County deputies responded to a report of a man who'd just left Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center, 523 N. Third St., and stolen a Medi-Van. Hospital personnel told police Aguirre left the hospital against medical advice.

Soon after, 911 dispatchers received multiple reports of the vehicle driving recklessly, beginning in north Brainerd and heading south toward the 500 block of Maple Street.

An officer arrived in the area and saw the Medi-Van stopped in the middle of the road, according to the criminal complaint against Aguirre. All doors were open and no one appeared to be inside. Crow Wing County deputies and other officers were flagged down and told the man was headed south on foot. Soon after, Aguirre was subdued with a stun gun, according to police.

Meanwhile, officers observed the van was still in drive and appeared to be stopped in the middle of the road due to damage to the vehicle. Several witnesses told police Aguirre drove on sidewalks and struck signs without slowing down.

One officer returned to the hospital to discuss the incident with hospital staff and the Medi-Van driver. A registered nurse from the hospital's emergency department recounted the events before Aguirre left and took the van. The nurse said at some point, Aguirre became upset and decided he did not want to stay at the hospital. She and a security officer followed Aguirre to the parking lot, the nurse said, trying to convince him to stay and be evaluated by a doctor.

Aguirre refused, and the nurse said she noticed him look at the Medi-Van and guessed what he planned to do. She followed him as he headed toward the van and reached one of the doors as he climbed into the driver's seat. But Aguirre began driving and sped off, striking a dumpster on the way. The vehicle pushed the nurse, causing her to fall to the ground and suffer abrasions on her hands and knee.

Aguirre remained in jail Tuesday. Judge Erik J. Askegaard set his bail at $50,000 with no conditions.