On September 30, around 12:30 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Clifford Owensby pulled the crippled card. In the 1900 Block of West Grand Avenue Dayton police officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Owensby because it was seen leaving a suspected drug house that was under surveillance by the Narcotics Bureau. When asked to exit the vehicle so that a drug sniffing dog could inspect the vehicle, Owensby pulled the crippled card by telling the officers that he could not because he was paraplegic. The officers offered to assist him in leaving the vehicle, but he refused and again told them that he was a paraplegic. They dragged him out and rescued the three-year-old in the back seat who was not in a restrained carrier. All the while, as he was being handcuffed, Owensby kept screaming that he was a paraplegic.
I have watched the Dayton Police body cam videos of the incident and question some of their tactics. However, I am more interested in Owensby’s being a paraplegic since I am a T 5-6 paraplegic for the past twenty years. For instance, I saw no hand controls on the vehicle that Owensby was driving and if he is a paraplegic, how can he drive without hand controls since his legs are of no use. Also, as a paraplegic, he would need a wheelchair to get around, but none was seen by me in his vehicle. How does he maneuver without one? Any paraplegic who drives a sedan such as Owensby was in has to remove the wheels of a wheelchair and store them behind the driver’s seat and place the folded main part in the passenger’s seat. It was clearly not there.
As a paraplegic I have grown tired of and frustrated by the people who abuse the handicapped parking spaces. They are sad and pathetic. However, what Owensby did is at a new level of evil self-serving, and I hope the Dayton police stand firm and fight Owensby’s claim. Like too many people, he looks for an easy exit instead of accepting responsibility for his decision not to cooperate with a simple request from police.