Paralyzed woman: Life ‘a living hell’ without stolen van

For the last two weeks, a paralyzed Middletown woman has been without the van that used to drive her to doctor appointments.

Shirley English, 77, paralyzed from the waist down after an auto accident in 2007, said her 2003 tan Dodge Caravan was stolen from her residence on Crawford Street earlier this month.

English said she allowed a former homeless man who lived with her to use the van to drive to and from his fast-food restaurant job on Breiel Boulevard in Middletown. She said the man used the van on Jan. 4, and she hasn’t seen him or the van since. She said the man picked up his check from the restaurant on Jan. 4, and he since has been fired.

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She filed a Middletown police report on Jan. 9, and the missing van was entered into the National Crime Information Center. Lt. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Police Department said officers are looking for the stolen van.

Until it’s found, English said she’s stuck at home, unable to make her doctor appointments for her heart and lung medical issues.

“My life has been a living hell,” English said Friday morning while sitting in her wheelchair holding her chihuahua. “I have nightmares like you wouldn’t believe. I can’t sleep at a night. I’m about ready to flip out. I feel like somebody has (taken) my life.”

She wiped away some tears, then added: “Nobody has the right to take what belongs to me, especially when it can save my life.”

English said she has a signed piece of paper that said the man was allowed to use the van between 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on nights he was working. At noon on Jan. 4, she noticed her car and house keys missing from an end table.

Up until the incident, English said the man was “a pretty good guy.” He had lived with her since October, she said.

Her family has sent the man text messages, but he hasn’t responded, she said.

“I need help,” she said. “I need help getting my automobile back.”

On her front door, she has posted two signs: “NOTICE: CAMERA. If you can read this your image has already been taken and unloaded to the internet.”

And, “No nuts or screwballs or thieves by order of police and prosecutor. Thank you.”

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