May 19, 2014
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Richmond police and fire officials went to heartwarming lengths over the weekend to help a mentally disabled man return home after his mobility scooter had run low on battery, according to police.

A police officer was in the area of 18th Street and Rheem Avenue about 11 a.m. on Saturday when he spotted a visibly upset man on a lark scooter.

The man, who lives in the 900 block of 37th Street, explained to the officer that he was on his usual route home when he went down an unfamiliar street and ended up lost. His scooter ran out of batteries as he tried to find his way back.

“He was lost, crying and saying he can’t get home,” police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said. “Rather than say, ‘You need to go that way,’ the officer stood by with him.”

The cop first attempted to call para-transit officials, but couldn’t get a hold of anyone during the weekend. So fire Capt. Mark Palecheck and his crew from Station 62 in North Richmond were called to assist. The firefighters brought a battery charger to charge up the scooter, Abetkov said, but unfortunately that didn’t work to get the scooter running.

Finally, fire Capt. Anthony Woodards and his crew from Station 66 on Clinton Avenue were called to assist. They brought a utility truck with a flatbed, and both police and fire officials helped push the scooter onto the truck.


Photo courtesy of the Richmond Fire Department

Both the scooter and its owner received door to door service.

Abetkov says the incident highlights how a police officer’s job is about far more than just arresting criminals.

“There are incidents like this that people don’t realize we do,” the police spokesperson said.


Photo courtesy of Richmond Fire Department.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.