PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a wheelchair user who had been found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicants.
James Greene of Waldport was arrested in November 2012 after entering a crosswalk in a motorized wheelchair and striking the side of a moving pickup. Police determined he was impaired by alcohol and drugs, and a jury convicted him of drunken driving.
In his appeal, Greene argued that he should have been considered a pedestrian, not subject to the DUI law.
The state disagreed, pointing to a law that treats motorized wheelchairs like bicycles when they are driven on bike lanes.
In its opinion Thursday, the Appeals Court decided legislators only intended to have wheelchairs treated like bicycles in that narrow circumstance, and users should be considered pedestrians when in a crosswalk.