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Driver leaves disabled boy unable to get into car, police cannot enforce

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 06:45:20-04

SKIATOOK, Okla. — A wheelchair-bound teen was unable to get into his van because someone parked in the striped section of parking lot.

Jodi Heitkamp’s 14-year-old son, Wyatt, has muscular dystrophy and gets around in a wheel chair and his mom’s wheelchair-accessible van.

Heitkamp said, “The ramp comes out about four feet, and then you need another three to four feet of clearance to get off the ramp so that you can maneuver around.”

It became a much bigger problem when they went to the story recently. The mom said, “We pulled in and I said, ‘Well, I sure hope that no one parks there.’”

She is referring to the yellow, striped area next to the handicap space. When she and Wyatt came back out, they saw someone had parked in that exact area, leaving no room for the wheelchair ramp to come down.

She said, “I went back in and talked to one of the people working there and asked them if they could move the car. They said they can’t do that because it can create a conflict.”

Instead of waiting for the driver to return, Heitkamp’s son had to wait at the front of the store while she brought the car around.

The mom thinks most people just do not realize what they are actually doing parking in that striped space. Also, not every handicap space has that Heitkamp said, “There’s just usually like one or two that I can park in and then you park there and then someone comes and parks in the lines.”

The Skiatook police chief says the police can only enforce the handicap spaces themselves and fire lanes. He says the yellow, striped lines are not part of the handicap spot but would be if they were painted blue.

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