Deputy’s widow receives wheelchair-accessible van

August 3, 2013


The widow of Hood County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sergeant Lance McLean on Thursday was presented with something her late husband had tried to win earlier this year – a wheelchair-accessible van.

The van, bought by Van Griffith Kia of Granbury, features a wheelchair lift for their 10-year-old son, Quinton. He has two rare conditions – alobar holprosencephaly and hydrocephalus.

Lance McLean died on June 29 in a Fort Worth hospital at age 38 after being shot when he responded to a criminal trespass call in Oak Trail Shores.

Only Dodge/Chrysler, Honda and Toyota manufacture crash-tested vans that can be adapted to accommodate the height and clearance necessary for the wheelchair lift’s hydraulic system. Griffith purchased the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan from Mike Brown Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Granbury for about $23,500. The cost of the lift and the custom installation job by Advanced Mobility Systems of Texas and BraunAbility of Indiana was paid for by Mike Brown, along with Danny Hill, owner of Classic Chevrolet of Granbury, and Bryan Shellenberger, owner of A-Apex Heating and Air-Conditioning. That brought the total value to about $45,000, Griffith said.

The McLeans, residents of Hico, had entered a National Mobility Awareness Month essay contest in March, hoping to be one of three families chosen to receive a similar wheelchair-accessible van. The top five were announced in May, but the McLeans did not make that final list – from which the three van winners were chosen.

Their daughter, 7-year-old Abby, has “moderate to severe” autism and also requires special attention. Quinton needs to attend doctor’s appointments at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple. Transporting him without a suitable vehicle designed for a wheelchair was difficult for the family.

Katy McLean, a first-grade teacher in Hico, released the following statement:

“Lance was a wonderful person, my best friend, and a great father. We miss him more each day. It is hard, but we are doing OK with the support of our family, friends, and the Hood County Sheriff’s Office. I want to thank everyone in Hood County and Hico that donated or had fundraisers. I am very grateful for everyone’s generosity, thoughtfulness, and prayers. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.”

Griffith said he didn’t buy the van as a public promotion, but felt strongly that he owed it to the McLeans because of Lance’s sacrifice as a public servant.

“I’m fortunate to be able to give her what she needed,” Griffith said. “As far as I’m concerned, those people deserve that. It was a tragedy what happened to Katy. I thought it was the thing to do, to try to give something back to the people who serve this community.”

The Hood County SWAT team, which included Lance McLean as a member, built a wheelchair ramp at the family’s home in Hico as an added bonus to Katy.

Chad Davis, an officer with the Granbury Police Department, survived a gunshot wound on June 28 in downtown Granbury in a shootout with the suspect who shot McLean. Multiple officers returned fire and killed the suspect.

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