Local teen who lost wheelchair in car crash hoping to regain ind - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Local teen who lost wheelchair in car crash hoping to regain independence with replacement

Posted: Updated: Apr 07, 2014 11:58 PM
BARABOO (WKOW) -- Drew Nachreiner is a 16-year old student at Baraboo High School.

Nachreiner has cerebral palsy, but his Mom said it doesn't slow him down much.

"Drew is very independent," said his mother Stephanie Shanks.

Nachreiner is confined to a wheelchair. Those in Baraboo are used to seeing him driving around in a motorized model.

"The thing about Drew is, he's just like anybody else," said family friend Karen DeSanto. "He just cruises around on some wheels."

Nachreiner enjoys driving himself to the library, as well as downtown Baraboo -- he's a fan of the thrift store there. He also volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club where DeSanto met him. She's the executive director.

"If only all my volunteers were like Drew," DeSanto said. "He's amazing. He's so incredibly positive."

But on March 27, much of Nachreiner's independence was lost. He was crossing Second St. at the intersection with East St. when he was hit by a vehicle in the crosswalk. Nachreiner said he does not know how fast the driver was going.

"I blacked out for a bit," he said.

But Nachreiner said the impact totaled his wheelchair, splitting it in half.

"All I got was a little scratch on the head," Nachreiner said. "So it could've been worse."

Nachreiner's family said the strength of the chair, which weighed 400 pounds, likely saved his life. 

Shanks said the driver involved in the accident has taken responsibility for the crash but his insurance company, GEICO, said the driver's plan only covers up to $10-thousand in damaged property.

Shanks said the cost of a new wheelchair for her son would be $25-thousand. She said the family cannot afford to pay the $15-thousand difference.

"Even if GEICO were to go up another $10-thousand, that would still require $5-thousand we don't have," she said.

Shanks said GEICO did not give her specifics about the driver's policy, but indicated the company would only pay out more than the $10-thousand limit if Drew had suffered bodily harm in the accident.

But Shanks said, in a way, he did.

"The motorized wheelchair is a part of Drew," she said. "Without the motorized wheelchair he can't get around at all."

In a statement Monday, GEICO Public Relations Director Christine Tasher said "We understand why so many people took interest in Drew Nachreiner’s situation. GEICO has talked to Drew’s family and we can tell you that we’re actively working to resolve the matter."
Nachreiner said he just wants his mobility back.

"I can't leave the house and I love being able to go the library and the Boys and Girls Club," he said.

"This just doesn't let me go anywhere," Nachreiner said. "It's not fun."

Those wishing to donate money towards a new, motorized wheelchair for Nachreiner can do so here.

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BARABOO (WKOW) -- A teen who has cerebral palsy and lost his motorized wheelchair in an accident last month is taking to social media in an effort to get a replacement.

In the YouTube video above,16-year old Drew Nachreiner details how his motorized wheelchair was totaled March 27 when he was hit by a vehicle in a crosswalk.

Nachreiner and his mother, Stephanie Shanks, claim the driver who hit him has admitted being at fault in the accident.

But they say the driver's insurance company, GEICO, is not willing to pay the full amount needed to replace the wheelchair.

Shanks says losing the motorized wheelchair, estimated at $25-thousand, has significantly hampered her son's mobility. She says using a manual wheelchair requires someone to push Nachreiner.

GEICO has not yet responded to a request for comment regarding the claim.

Watch 27 News tonight at 10 for more on this story.

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