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Wheelchair User Violated Street Law

January 22, 1999

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) _ A woman who uses a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy and says the city’s sidewalks aren’t accessible was found guilty Thursday of using her wheelchair in a street.

Judge Erich O’Brien of Sandusky Municipal Court said he had no choice but to convict Kelly Dillery, who has suffered from the degenerative muscle disease since her high school graduation.

``You were in the actual lane of travel,″ O’Brien told Ms. Dillery, adding that she put herself and motorists in jeopardy.

``None of us want to see you get hurt,″ he added.

Ms. Dillery was cited in early December after police saw her in a wheelchair on a busy street. She was charged with being a pedestrian in the street.

Police and the city prosecutor said they had received several complaints about Ms. Dillery’s actions.

She also faces a child endangerment charge for strapping her 4-year-old daughter Kelsi on her lap and riding in the street on a separate occasion. She has pleaded innocent to that charge.

K. Ronald Bailey, Ms. Dillery’s lawyer, said his client has no choice but to ride in the streets.

Sandusky City Prosecutor Rob DeLamatre said the city was simply trying to protect Ms. Dillery.

Attempts to settle the case out-of-court were unsuccessful, he said.

``We always believed there was a better way to do this,″ DeLamatre said.

The judge did not sentence her and will likely wait until the other case is resolved. The penalty is a $100 fine.

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