Texas mom says her son was experiencing a mental health breakdown when he allegedly stole an ambulance

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The mother of a man charged with stealing an ambulance in Virginia Beach said her son had been struggling with his mental health at the time of the incident.

Stephanie Allman, the mother of 33-year-old Christopher Allman, reached out to 10 On Your Side from her home in Texas after seeing our reports about a stolen ambulance in Virginia Beach.

Police told us a pursuit started Tuesday around 7 p.m. with a stolen ambulance. Officers used spike stripes to stop the emergency vehicle.

Christopher Allman was arrested and has been charged with eluding police, destruction of property, grand theft auto, larceny, false identification to an officer, impersonating public safety, tampering and destroying an EMS vehicle, setting an emergency alarm and improper brakes.

“Just utter disbelief, honestly,” Stephanie Allman said. “You know, it’s just not something that he would do.”

She said behind the video is her son struggling with his mental health.

“He’s battled addiction and depression and things, you know, for a very, very long time,” Stephanie said.

She lives in Texas and said she hasn’t had much contact with her son since he moved to Virginia Beach.

Stephanie Allman thought he was getting treatment.

“A completely separate officer had picked him up and he could tell, you know, he needed help,” she said. “He was in a very bad way, hence taking him to the emergency room.”

At some point, she said he left.

Christopher Allman could explain to her why.

“All he can tell me is he was so paranoid because people were chasing him,” his mother said. “He thought people were trying to kill him and people were after him, so he ran out the door.”

A bail determination checklist names Christopher Allman as the accused. The court document said an ambulance was stolen and took off at a high speed.

In the circumstances of the offense on the checklist it said, “Defendant wearing EMS uni, not defendant’s name, lost traction multiple times, crashed into hotel, earlier at hospital defendant pulled fire alarm, gave LEO’s multiple fictitious names.”

“He was scared and hopeless and, you know, didn’t know where to turn,” Stephanie Allman said.

His mom is frustrated that the hospital didn’t make sure he got the care he needed. She said he was getting treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

“… The hospital, they failed him,” she said. “They failed him … and so it’s very disheartening when you think you’re going to get help and you end up in a much worse situation.”

A spokesperson for Sentara said that “without an order from a magistrate or a court and assistance from police, we cannot detain any patient. Patients and families speaking to the news media does not release us from our privacy obligations under HIPAA.”

Stephanie Allman acknowledges her son will pay for what he did. She hopes he gets help along the way.

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