Worcester Police Investigating Elderly Man’s Wheelchair Death

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Katie Brace, WBZ-TV Katie Brace
Katie Brace is a General Assignment Reporter for WBZ-TV News With...
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WORCESTER (CBS) – A family wants to know what went wrong after police say an elderly man flipped backwards in a handicap van and died.

“If he’d passed peacefully O.K., everybody dies, but not that way,” said Stuart Merchant, Jr., the son of the victim.

Stuart Merchant, Sr., 85 was injured Monday and died Tuesday. He suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and was wheelchair bound. The transport van picked him up at adult day care at in Worcester, and police say the accident occurred a few hundred feet later.

“The wheelchair went back and my father hit his head, which forced his head down onto his chest,” said Stuart Merchant, Jr. “From my understanding, he’s supposed to be tethered down and he wasn’t. I don’t understand this.”

Officers said Safeway Luxury Transportation out of Worcester provides the service. The company said they had no comment.

Police are investigating if it was operator error or faulty equipment in the van. It is up to the district attorney if any charges will be filed.

Stuart Merchant, Jr. says a few months ago, his father’s wheelchair tipped in another van and he suffered a head laceration. He said he didn’t think there would be a second time.

“Somebody’s gonna be held accountable, I don’t care how long it takes,” said Stuart Merchant, Jr.


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