Man Steals Utility Truck, Leads Police on Chase with Helpless Worker Trapped in Bucket

Just about the most conspicuous choice for a getaway car.

YouTube | WLWT 5

A municipal utility worker in Ohio had the ride of his life on Friday after a man broke into his Ford F-550 bucket truck and took off, leading police on a ten mile chase that ended with the use of stop sticks—all with the helpless employee still trapped ten feet in the air in the bucket.

Police say the unnamed worker was hanging Christmas decorations on a telephone pole for the town of Elmwood Place outside Cincinnati when Dennis Smith Jr. jumped into the driver's seat of the utility truck and sped away, according to WLWT. The employee was able to radio in his predicament to his dispatcher, who in turn called 911 to report the unintentional abduction. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the incredulity of the 911 operator is pretty amusing: "A bucket truck? So he’s still with the vehicle? And the vehicle has been taken?” 

Security footage obtained by the station shows the truck booking it down a nearby road soon after the theft, and you can clearly see the employee has lowered the bucket and is trying desperately to climb to the relative safety of the bed of the truck. Police from several area jurisdictions responded and gave chase, pursuing the suspect into a Cincinnati neighborhood where officers used stop sticks to finally bring an end to things.

The employee, described as a "longtime employee and military veteran" by the Elmwood Place Mayor, was thankfully uninjured in the ordeal, though he was still taken to the hospital as a precaution. Smith Jr. isn't so lucky: He's been charged with theft and kidnapping.