Woman with disabilities needs help after car stolen, totaled

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids woman who is disabled is without a car after it was stolen and destroyed. 

Barbara Brown, 52, says she now has no way to get the care she needs without reliable transportation. 

She hoped she could get her beloved vehicle back in one piece, instead it ended up wrapped around a power pole.  

Brown says she knew she made a mistake when she left her car running while briefly going into a West Side gas station on Leonard Street.

“I parked right next to the door. It was cold, my back’s bad, I left my car running — that I did,” Brown said Tuesday. 

Brown, a lifetime West Side resident, says she is on full disability due to a variety of health concerns. 

“I wasn’t in there more than three minutes, I swear, and my car was gone,” she said. 

After realizing that her car was gone, she talked to the clerk at Speedway, where cameras captured images of someone getting into her car. 

Then, her daughter, Amber Brown, heard the Wyoming police chase on a scanner, where the car and suspect sounded like their case. 

Barbara Brown’s car sped through Wyoming, crashing into another car, then into a power pole on Byron Center Avenue and Porter Street. 

Various angles of the stolen car after hitting a power pole on Byron Center Avenue and Porter Street. (Nov. 19, 2019)

Police say the other driver and his dog were unharmed. 

Two days later, the car remains with significant damage and one of the people in the car, a juvenile, remains with serious injuries at DeVos Children’s Hospital, according to Wyoming police.

“I don’t feel no ill will toward him, but I’m just sad they took my car and crashed it and somebody got hurt out of it,” Barbara Brown said. “I have no car and I can’t walk that far.” 

Barbara Brown said she learned that the suspect got out of a stolen car when he went to steal her car.

Police confirm that the suspects are being investigated for other crimes. 

But Barbara Brown has more immediate concerns. 

“I have a doctor’s appointment today and I can’t go to it and that’s hard because my doctor’s appointments are crucial,” she said. “You can see it in my eyes — I cried for two days. That was my transportation to and from my doctor’s (office) — just to go to the store.” 

Amber Brown says the car only has property damage, but insurance has been able to help much. 

“People are saying, ‘I can’t believe someone did this to your mom of all people. She’s the number one person that’s there for any and everybody,’” said said. “If it was their mother, they would probably want to get a whole group of friends to go find this person.” 

Police say other suspects remain at large in a case that is ongoing.

Amber Brown has started a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise enough money to get her mother a reliable, used car.  

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