AUSTIN, Texas – The man in a wheelchair who was run over by a truck earlier this month in North Austin was given a special gift by the Austin Police Department.
“Well, thank you very much,” said Rogelio De Luna, translated from Spanish.
De Luna says he is extremely thankful for the gift he received from APD. The gift of a brand new electric wheelchair.
“He never imagined he would be receiving a chair like that. It brings him great joy, and he’s extremely appreciative for the kind gesture,” said Cpl. Bino Cadenas with APD.
The gift comes after De Luna was involved in a horrific hit-and-run crash on Sept. 3. The crash was caught on camera.
“I’m still not 100% okay,” said De Luna, translated from Spanish.
De Luna admits he’s still not 100% after what happened, but he is making progress each day.
That morning, he says he was on his way to work when police say 17-year-old Pablo Antonio Avila-Banagas hit De Luna with his truck and fled the scene. He has since been arrested and charged with injury to a disabled person.
De Luna sustained a list of intense injuries as well as losing his electric wheelchair, his main way of getting around.
“We were trying to think of how else we can help him after the horrific thing that happened to him,” said Detective Donny Petraitis with APD.
Those working De Luna’s case decided to partner with a local company in Austin called Martin Mobility to give De Luna a brand new electric wheelchair.
“It’s not a cheap thing to have an electric wheelchair like that, so being able to team up with these companies and be able to provide him a new electric wheelchair, hopefully it makes his life a little easier,” said Officer Travis Vonholt with APD,
De Luna was previously gifted a manual wheelchair that he uses daily. He was also given a different electric wheelchair, but has not been able to use it since he did not have the right charger for it.
He says this one gifted by the Austin Police Department will become his primary way to get around. For that, he is thankful.