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Oregon court reverses DUI conviction of the wheelchair user

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a wheelchair user convicted for driving under the influence of narcotics.

James Greene, of Waldport was arrested in November 2012 after entering a crosswalk in a motorized wheelchair and hitting the side of a moving pick-up. The police determined he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and a jury convicted him of drunk driving.

In his appeal, Greene argued that he was considered a pedestrian, not subject to the DUI law.

It is not even noted, pointing to a law that deals with motorized wheelchairs, such as bicycles when they are ridden on bicycle paths.

In its opinion Thursday, the Court of Appeal decided the legislature only intended to wheelchairs treated as cycling in that narrow circumstance, and users should be considered as pedestrian at a zebra crossing.

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