Wheelchair van unavailable for police assist in Knoxville

| Friday, June 20, 2014, 9:09 a.m.

Pittsburgh police last month announced the purchase of a van to help move people in wheelchairs, but it was in the shop when police responded to a man stranded in Knoxville on Thursday morning, a public safety spokeswoman said.

Police responded to a report of a man whose motorized wheelchair's battery died and stranded him on Bausman Street in Knoxville, spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

Such a call is why officials said they needed the $51,000 van with a motorized ramp and hooks to secure a wheelchair and its occupant when they showed it to reporters May 19. But during training, something went wrong with the mechanical lift and police sent the van back for repairs, Toler said.

Pittsburgh paramedics took the man stuck on Bausman home, and a crew from the Department of Public Works took him the wheelchair, she said.

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