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Man sentenced for stealing ambulance with 2 patients inside

SAN DIEGO — A man who was drunk when he drove off in an ambulance from Scripps Mercy Hospital with two patients inside was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison.

Saeed Cervantes Salmeron, 31, pleaded guilty last month to elder abuse and misdemeanor DUI. The defendant also admitted a 2006 robbery conviction and a prior DUI conviction.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello said Salmeron got into the ambulance just after 6 p.m. on March 20 as the driver dropped off a patient at the hospital. A 71-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man in a wheelchair were still inside the vehicle.

The prosecutor said Salmeron actually dropped the woman off at her appointment before being pulled over.

A subsequent breath test showed that the defendant had a .28 percent blood-alcohol content, more than three times the legal limit for driving, according to the prosecutor.