As the image of Archbold received a black eye over Mark Miller’s mobility scooter, Jim Wyse, mayor, pointed the finger at Miller’s attorney.
Miller is represented by Jan Stamm, Wauseon.
Archbold police had told Miller it was illegal to ride his new mobility scooter on the sidewalk, because it can hit top speeds of 18 miles per hour, which exceeds the 8 mph limit set in the law for motorized wheelchairs
Patricia Miller, Mark’s wife, said in an interview last week that Stamm advised them to go ahead and use the scooter.
Two officers stopped Miller at 7:04 pm, Wednesday, June 25, near the intersection of S. Lincoln Street and South Street.
Miller was charged with violating village ordinance 72.098 (A) (1): “No person shall drive any vehicle, other than a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.”
Motorized wheelchairs are exempt from the ordinance.
Pointing The Finger
In a Monday evening, July 7, interview, Wyse said, “Frankly, I put all that’s happened on the attorney, who told someone to go ahead and get the ticket. I consider that poor advice.”
Contacted the following morning, Stamm said he could not comment on how he advised a client, but he did say, “I don’t think I would advise anyone to get a ticket.”
Wyse said the only winner that will come out of the situation is Stamm, because Stamm will be able to bill the Millers for his legal services.
The Millers were invited to attend the Monday, June 16, meeting of Archbold village council. Martin Schmidt, police chief, and Mark Hagans, village solicitor, were at the meeting.
The Millers chose not to attend. Wyse said in talking to the couple, they told him they were advised council would not go against the advice of its attorney (Hagans).
He said village officials have gone against the advice of attorneys before, by passing legislation to permit golf carts to operate on village streets.
“We had different advice on that, and council decided to do it anyway,” Wyse said. “So to say we don’t listen to citizens, that’s just not the truth.
“But an attorney from Wauseon wouldn’t know that.
“There were some folks within our leadership team who were not excited about doing that. There’s a lot of traffic in town. It was going to cause some problems.
“But we decided those who needed to travel like that, we needed to give them some options.”
Stamm said he was going to file a motion to dismiss the charge against Miller, yesterday, Tuesday, in Western District Court.
With that motion will be a memorandum of support, explaining his reasons the case should be dismissed.
The village ordinances, which are the same as the state law, refer to “Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices.”
Such devices are defined under 72.061 (G) as “a selfbalancing two-non-tandemwheeled device that is designed to transport only one person, has an electric propulsion system of an average of 750 watts, and when ridden on a paved level surface by an operator who weighs 170 pounds has a maximum speed of less than 20 mph.”
“Self-balancing, two-nontandem wheeled device” describes a Segway, on which a rider stands on the machine and controls it by shifting his weight.
When asked why a Segway, which is specifically allowed on a sidewalk, can go 20 mph but “mobility scooters” such as the one owned by the Millers is limited to 8 mph, Hagans said he didn’t know.
“I am unaware of the history why that device (the Segway) is okay on the sidewalk, but no other device that could exceed 8 mph is permitted.
“Mr. Miller’s vehicle is not incapable of speeds in excess of 8 mph, so is within an entire category of vehicles prohibited from sidewalk operation.”
Interviewed Monday night, Mark Miller said they have received a lot of support over the issue.
“We appreciate that,” he said.
The issue has been covered by this and other newspapers, two Toledo television stations, and at least one radio station.
“It even hit Yahoo’s (Internet website) page for a while,” Miller said.
“The people of Archbold have always been supportive. No one complained. They see me out, they stop and talk and say hi.
“I have no hard feelings toward the Archbold police. They were just doing what they were told to do.”–David Pugh