Dec 29 An Oregon appeals court has reversed the
conviction of a man charged with drunk driving for operating his
motorized wheelchair while intoxicated.
The Oregon court of Appeals ruled Thursday that James
Richard Greene was a pedestrian as he piloted his wheelchair
through a crosswalk, not the driver of a vehicle as prosecutors
had alleged, the court said in a news release.
"Because defendant left a sidewalk in his motorized
wheelchair and traveled in a crosswalk, he was a pedestrian and
not a driver of a vehicle" under the pertinent statute, the
court said in the release.
Greene was convicted of driving under the influence of
intoxicants for slamming his wheelchair into a pickup truck in a
crosswalk in Oregon's Lincoln County in 2012, the Oregonian
Prosecutors had argued that the wheelchair met the
definition of a vehicle, and a jury convicted Greene in 2013.
He appealed, saying that he was in the crosswalk as a
pedestrian, and on Thursday, the Court of Appeals agreed.
The court did not rule more broadly on the question of
whether motorized wheelchairs can be considered vehicles in
other circumstances, limiting their comments to Greene's actions
as a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by David Gregorio)