KC man in wheelchair calls for improvements after crumbling curb causes trip to ER

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KANSAS CITY, Mo (WDAF). — Damaged sidewalks on Pershing Road are causing issues for some residents using wheelchairs in Kansas City.

One incident even landed a man in the hospital.

Four times a week Tony Waterhouse-Leal crosses the street on Pershing, taking in the scenic views in front of Union Station as he makes his way to the gym.

Born with cerebral palsy, he’s used his wheelchair his entire life. However, he said his condition isn’t what’s getting in his way right now.

Instead, it’s the cracked and uneven sidewalks around the city.

“I stopped, and my chair got stuck, and I proceeded to give it more power,” Waterhouse-Leal said. “The chair lunged forward and threw me out.”

He laid in the road for 2-3 minutes before help arrived. He was then rushed to the emergency room where he needed three stitches.

“It all happened so quickly,” he said. “All I remember is my forehead bleeding and my glasses on the ground shattered in a million pieces.”

Waterhouse-Leal said the crumbling curbs might be easy to walk over, but for people in wheelchairs, it’s not that simple.

He’s now hoping to raise awareness about the accessibility issues around Kansas City.

“I know that there’s also issues with crossways up near the IRS building down the way, and there are folks that have complained about that situation as well,” he said. “We are all trying to work together and get attention out there on how badly these roads, potholes and sidewalks need attention.”

FOX4 reached out to the city about the area. A Public Works spokesperson provided the following statement:

“This location is not on our existing ADA curb replacement list because it already has a ramp that met previous design standards (before the 2010 standards were implemented).

“However, safety issues are always a concern on our roadways and sidewalks. We will investigate locations where it poses a hazard to our community as in this case, so we are working to coordinate this location for repair as an add-on to a future contract.”

In the meantime, Waterhouse-Leal said you’ll find him making his normal commute to the gym but praying the repairs will be done sooner, rather than later.

“Every city has its challenges with accessibility and movability, and I think the goal for Kansas City is to ultimately make the city more walkable and accessible,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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