Facebook video sparks concern for wheelchair-bound people - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Facebook video sparks concern for wheelchair-bound people

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WARREN, Ohio -

Video posted to a Facebook group shows a Howland police cruiser with its lights on assisting a wheelchair-bound woman along Elm Road and Gretchen Drive Northeast.

Perhaps adding to the concern for folks in this area is the fact that just three months ago, a woman on a motorized wheelchair died after a semi that was parking struck her.

This time, a lot of people who saw this video were concerned, but glad there wasn't a similar tragedy.

Warren City Law Director Greg Hicks points to two legal definitions for this case.

Ohio law says anyone not in a motor vehicle, like this woman, has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.

"Because of the low profile of being in a motorized chair, their visibility is such that one would hope they'd have some type of pennant or some type of identifying flag," said Hicks.

Many who commented on the Facebook video were concerned that there were no sidewalks, leaving her no choice but to be in the road.

The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't seem to offer much to remedy that.

"If you're rebuilding the roadway, you'd have to put in wheelchair-accessible ramps and sidewalks. But you're not required to go out and find every roadway that doesn't have that if you're not doing something else to it," Hicks said.

21 News asked Lisa Solley, a disability advocate with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio if she believes that's fair.  "Absolutely," she said. Adding, that while it's good that folks are concerned, more people like the woman in the video shouldn't be afraid to exercise their independence."

"That's the thing; people see this as, 'Oh, she's frail and can't do this. Or she's in danger', but would they have stopped and done that, called for a welfare check if someone were walking or on a bike?" said Solley.

Until Elm Road gets a significant facelift, Solley suggests other avenues to make life easier for those with disabilities.

"Trumbull County doesn't have a kind of a door-to-door transportation system," she said. "Transportation is an important issue for people, and they're going to do what they need to do to get groceries."

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