GARDNER, MASS. (WHDH) - A 21-year-old Spencer man was arraigned in court Thursday after authorities said he allegedly stole an ambulance from Heywood Hospital in Gardner and led police on a chase Wednesday evening.
The incident happened around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday. Harrison Barjolo, who goes by HB, was later taken into custody after driving back to Heywood Hospital, according to police.
In court on Thursday, Barjolo’s defense attorney said his client is having a mental health crisis.
The judge then opted to send Barjolo to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Barjolo is a senior at Franklin Pierce University, where he studies IT and plays varsity football. Barjolo is on the dean’s list.
Speaking with reporters, Barjolo’s father said his son was at Heywood Hospital for mental health reasons after he started making delusional statements. Barjolo’s father, Harrison Barjolo, Sr., said his son had not slept in the past few days. He also shared a text from his son that read “I’m the second coming of Christ.”
“I said, ‘I think I’m going to come to your school campus to take you to the hospital,” Barjolo, Sr. said. “‘I feel something is not right.”
“[I’m] very heartbroken,” Barjolo, Sr. separately said. “This was never what I expected to happen to my son.”
HB’s football coach brought him to the hospital. There, authorities said HB allegedly slipped out, attacked an EMT and took off in the ambulance.
Barjolo, Sr. said he talked to his son while his son was in the ambulance and told him to come back to the hospital.
Gardner police in a previous statement said officers chased the stolen ambulance after HB allegedly did not stop for officers who tried to pull him over.
Police said HB struck another vehicle during the pursuit and hit a cement pole in front of the emergency room as he returned to Heywood Hospital.
After crashing the ambulance, police said HB fled back into the hospital’s emergency department where he was taken into custody.
Gardner police on Wednesday night said Barjolo was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, operating to endanger, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, assault and battery on an elder, assault and battery on ambulance personnel and simple assault and battery, as well as other motor vehicle charges.
Zengr David, HB’s stepfather, said HB is “a very nice kid.”
“He’s very, very smart,” he said. “…So, I don’t know, it was strange.”
“I am praying to God that the Lord will heal my son,” Barjolo, Sr. said.
In addition to other allegations, HB is accused of attacking an 89-year-old patient inside Heywood Hospital.
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