A mentally ill man, who was being treated at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), jumped into an ambulance Tuesday morning and sped off.
The man drove through Eldoret town before he branched off into the Eldoret-Iten road.
His escapade came to a sudden end after he rammed a fuel tanker about 10 kilometres away from Eldoret. He survived the crash with serious injuries.
Officials say the 23-year-old man had been taken to MTRH for treatment. He dashed out, got into the ambulance and drove off.
Hospital officials alerted the police who pursued the patient. Police officers caught up with him at the crash scene at Marura on the Eldoret-Iten road.
The patient suffered serious head injuries while the driver of the tanker escaped with minor bruises. He narrowly missed hitting two 14-seater matatus before he rammed the tanker, witnesses said.
MTRH chief executive officer Wilson Aruasa said the man was being attended to by a health worker when he rushed out and jumped into the vehicle that was still running.
“The driver had not turned off the engine of the ambulance. The man jumped into the vehicle and sped off,” Dr Aruasa told the Nation.
He said the man had been treated at the facility before and that he had normally displayed aggressiveness common with psychiatric patients.
Mr Ambrose Lagat, a witness, told the Nation that the man was driving the ambulance at high speed on the wrong side of the road and a number of motorists veered off the road to avoid colliding.
“We were shocked because the driver was speeding and he did not hoot or turn on the siren to alert other drivers,” he said.
After the collision, the tanker blocked the road and there was snarl-up.
Police officers had a difficult time controlling a crowd of curious onlookers who milled at the accident scene.