By Nancy Molnar The Times-Reporter
NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — A Dover man is expressing his thanks to four New Philadelphia police officers who helped him get moving after his motorcycle got stuck on Tuesday.
Brad Shepherd, 59, was especially appreciative of the help because he has been a tetraplegic since a 2011 diving accident left him with only the use of his hands, arms and shoulders. As he describes it, nothing from his chest down works.
When the cycle got stuck around 2 p.m., he had no one to call for help.
“I was really in a jam,” Shepherd said. “During the day, everybody is at work.”
When the mishap occurred, Shepherd was riding in his modified motorcycle. The vehicle has an unusual appearance on the road because Shepherd rides in the sidecar, which is equipped with a steering wheel and hand controls. There’s no one sitting on the motorcycle seat.
Shepherd finds the modified motorcycle more maneuverable than his van.
He said he tries to do things that he did before his accident, as much as he can.
“I try to do the best that I can with the limitations that I have,” Shepherd said.
He was on his way to show his rental property on Beaver Avenue NE when he hit a road hazard.
“There was a pothole and the chain hit the pothole,” Shepherd said. “It knocked the chain off the sprocket.”
Shepherd, whose wheelchair sits inside the sidecar, left the disabled vehicle on to meet the prospective tenants.
Police Capt. Paul Rossi found the abandoned motorcycle on Ray Avenue NE, and after some checking, found Shepherd.
“He said you’ve got to get it off the road there,” Shepherd said. “By the time we got back down there, there were four or five cop cars down there already.”
Among the responding officers was Capt. Rocky Dusenberry, who was able to get the chain back onto the sprocket on the rear wheel.
“It took some work to get it back on,” Shepherd said.
Rossi, Dusenberry and patrolmen Jeff DeMattio and James Miller pushed the vehicle until the chain wrapped around the sprocket.
“I was really impressed by the way they handled things,” Shepherd said. “In the news these days, it’s just unfortunate that police get such a bad rap. It’s a job I wouldn’t want.”
He said his experience with the police reminded him of a billboard from the 1960s, which said that if you have a problem with the police, the next time you’re in trouble, yell for a hippie.
An updated version of the billboard, posted n Muncie, Ind. in 2016, said, “Hate cops? The next time you need help call a crackhead.”