Chris Thompson, assistant director for Wilson County Emergency Medical Services, said a man took the ambulance while workers were transporting a patient to an emergency room at Wilson Medical Center.
A crew member went to put the stretcher in the ambulance and saw it was pulling away, Thompson said.
"The truck was pulling off with the back doors open," EMS director Terry Barber said.
The crew member immediately called a supervisor.
The emergency department is located behind the EMS station, at 1817 Glendale Drive, so the ambulance actually came by the station, he said. The supervisor started following it.
At the corner of Glendale Drive and Downing Street, emergency workers said Dantral Pope, 22, stopped the ambulance and stepped out. The supervisor chatted with him until police arrived.
The supervisor stayed at the scene until the police got there, and Pope was taken into custody.
Pope, of 2303 Sutton Place Northwest, Apt. 100, was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle. He was being held Thursday under a $1,000 bond in the Wilson County jail.
Daniel Pope said his brother, Dantral Pope, has a mental condition.
"He hasn't been taking his medicine for weeks now. He is on four or five types of medication," Daniel Pope said.
Daniel Pope said his brother had just been discharged from the hospital.
"He went because he was hearing voices," he said.