North Attleboro fire, police help buy new wheelchair for resident

By: Chloe Leshner


NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WLNE) — A disabled North Attleboro man was given some of his freedom back today.  His wheelchair was damaged when he was clipped by a car so police and firefighters teamed up to help him get a replacement.

Bruce Stewart is thrilled with his brand new electric scooter.

"It’s got a 25 mile range, goes 8 miles an hour, has a headlight, brake lights, directionals and a rear view mirror," he proudly explains.

He’s also thrilled with his brand new sense of freedom.

"Instead of bothering someone else to give me a ride to the doctors down the street, I can take this," he says.

He’s been in a wheelchair for 8 years. He was hit by a car when he was a kid and doctors told him he’d lose function of his legs by the time he was 40.

"I made it until I was 60," he says.

But then it happened again.

"It was right at the intersection of North Washington and Elm Street. I had the light and I started to cross the street and this guy came along and ran over my foot," says Stewart.

Fortunately Stewart’s chair took the brunt of the damage but he’s been struggling to get around ever since, relying on town services for rides.

The person who made the illegal right turn and hit him wasn’t criminally charged. Stewart’s insurance company only gave him $1,000, not nearly enough to fix his old wheel chair or buy a new one.

That’s when the town stepped in.

"The fire department kicked in some money and so did the police department," says Stewart.

One thousand dollars, altogether. The money, raised throughout the year for this exact reason, to give back to community members who need it most.

Stewart can’t say thank you enough.

"It really means a lot to me, it touches my heart," he says.

(C) WLNE/ABC 6 2018