Lexington man with ALS has RV, wheelchair vandalized

Jeramey Etherton says his RV, which helps other people with ALS travel, was vandalized Monday

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington man who suffers from the paralyzing neuromuscular disorder ALS had his RV and motorized wheelchair vandalized. He not only uses the RV to get around, but so do other ALS patients and their families. It’s a lifeline.

The cost of the senseless crime goes well beyond the cost of repairs. Early Tuesday morning, Jeramey Etherton received a call from the Lexington Fire Department, saying that his RV, which helps other people with ALS travel, had been broken into.

“Of course, I was extremely worried. Fire Department usually means fire. We got there and once we got inside, it had been vandalized all on the inside..they just blasted everything with a fire extinguisher inside just to create a mess.”

Etherton says the RV was parked overnight on Floyd Drive at a friend’s detailing shop to get more decals added to its sides.

“People don’t care, you know? They just looked inside, I mean, there’s a wheelchair in there,” said Etherton.

He says whoever broke in stole a license plate and food in the fridge, spraying everything inside with a fire extinguisher and throwing trash everywhere.

But the worst part? The damage included a power wheelchair Etherton uses himself, which he says may not be usable anymore because of the fire extinguisher residue.

“I use it because I’m not able to walk that long of a distance any longer. And I’m kind of in a quandry now,” said Etherton.

He says he’s not sure insurance will cover the cost of the RV’s damage, and a new power wheelchair costs about $55,000, not to mention cleaning the van, which he says will be another $2,000.

Until the van can get cleaned and fixed, it’s unusable.

Etherton says the RV has helped nine different people travel and make memories with their loved ones over the past year. He says it was supposed to go down to Gatlinburg with another ALS family over the weekend.

“You know, her husband is at the end stages of ALS and they wanted to take a trip and I was like, ‘cool, take a trip.’ You know? So I had to call them last night. That was a tear-jerker,” said Etherton.

He’s got a message for the people who broke in:

“Grow up. Appreciate what other people’s struggles are.”

Etherton says he’s filed a police report and says investigators are on the case.

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