A 91-year-old woman lost her wheelchair ramp because her son never got a permit to build it.
Every town and county has them: officials who get too headstrong and start abusing their powers. We saw that on full display in Prince Georges County after government officials issued Evelyn and David Strahle a citation for having an illegal wheelchair ramp in the front of their home.
Evelyn is 91 and her husband David is 94 years old. Like many people their age, they struggle with mobility issues. The front steps to their home are particularly difficult to navigate.
Sp the Strahles' son Bob decided to build a wheelchair ramp to help his parents enter and exit their home. A contractor by trade, Bob knew that he could save his parents thousands of dollars by building the ramp himself. So, he purchased almost $1,700 in lumber and constructed the ramp.
The county was not impressed. Evelyn received a notice threatening to fine or imprison her if the ramp was not disassembled. Apparently, her son didn't file the proper building permits with the city, and inspectors were demanding that they start from scratch and receive the permit before beginning any construction. Bob even asked an inspector to look over the ramp and make suggestions for improvements, but he was told that was not the process and that he would need to file a permit application first.
So, Bob had no choice but to disassemble the ramp, leaving David and Evelyn trapped in their home. The irony is that the county was demanding that Evelyn appear in court. However, in order to comply with the county's demands, she had to demolish the very ramp that would have let her travel to the courthouse.
When the story started reaching local news outlets, county officials rushed to apologize, saying that "something obviously went awry." The couple received a letter from the county government promising to "get to the bottom of this."
Now that the ramp has been removed, they no longer need to appear in court, which is good because they can't leave their front door anyway.
What do you think? Isn't this a perfect example of the "letter of the law versus the spirit of the law"? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!