CRESTVIEW — A man who was hit by a car while riding in his electric wheelchair down Stillwell Boulevard last month is attempting to raise money to get a new wheelchair.
David Newcomb, 32, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 18 and has used a wheelchair ever since. His special wheelchair, worth about $60,000, has hydraulics that allow him to stand up and lie down, as well as lights that allow him to drive the wheelchair at night.
But, on the night of Oct. 20, Newcomb was traveling in his chair from Pizza Hut, where he works as a manager, to his home off Stillwell Boulevard when he was hit from behind by a driver who fled the scene. Newcomb wasn’t seriously injured, but his wheelchair was heavily damaged.
“It moves back and forth, but the hydraulics don’t work anymore,” he said. “The lights are busted; one wheel came off. It’s in pretty bad shape.”
Newcomb said he talked to the maker of the chair, Permobil, as well as the company that gave him the chair several years ago, Numotion, about replacing or repairing the chair. He said both of those companies told him they wouldn’t do anything until the driver of the vehicle that hit him was caught, saying his insurance should pay for the new chair.
“They want the person who hit me, their insurance, to pay for the chair because it’s $60,000,” Newcomb said.
Crestview Police Department spokesman Brian Hughes said police have not identified the driver of the car, but welcomed “any credible information” from residents.
In the meantime, a friend of Newcomb’s started a GoFundMe page to help him raise money for his wheelchair. So far, it has raised $190 of its $60,000 goal.
A coworker gave Newcomb an electric wheelchair to help him until he can get a new one, but he said it doesn’t have hydraulics and lights like his old one, and getting around and doing day-to-day things is very difficult for him.
“It makes work quite a bit harder, and it’s hard to get out of bed sometimes and do things at the house,” he said. “And it’s just a safety issue in general. In Crestview, they don’t have sidewalks on busy roads, so it’s very dangerous to travel.
"My old wheelchair had lights and caution lights on it, but this one doesn’t.”