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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mom in tears after van for disabled son stolen - Chicago, Illinois - April 21 2011 - Chicago Tribune

Mom in tears after van for disabled son stolen - Chicago Breaking News

By William Lee; Tribune reporter
April 21, 2011

Deetreena Perteet said her heart sank as she watched her 1998 Dodge
Caravan screech away from her Bronzeville home -- a thief behind the wheel.

Her boyfriend had jostled her awake Wednesday morning just in time to witness the wheelchair-accessible minivan being stolen. Since then, the mother of four said she’s been in tears, praying for the return of the van she needs for her paralyzed 16-year-old son.

"I cried all last night, all yesterday morning," Perteet told the Tribune in a telephone interview this afternoon, her voice breaking. "I want my van back. That van meant so much to me and my family."

Her son, Ondolee Perteet, is holding out hope of getting the van back.

"(I felt) a little bit of everything. I didn't know what to think,” he said. “I was just hoping that we could get our van back. I was wondering if we (were) ever going to get it back.”

Ondelee was 14 when he was shot in the jaw during a birthday party melee near Augusta and Laramie avenues on the city’s West Side in September 2009. The bullet severed the boy's spine, paralyzing him from the neck down.

His family was given the bright red minivan as a Christmas gift last year from a local car dealer touched by the family’s plight.

Ondelee Perteet’s voice rises when he recalls the day his family was handed the keys to the van. “I (couldn’t) believe it. Somebody gave us a car, like a car,” he said.

The minivan meant freedom -- to visit friends and family and even go to the movies.

"We need that van to go grocery shopping, to go on family outings, to pick up family members and stuff like that," Ondelee Perteet said.

The Dodge Caravan was taken from the 600 block of East 43rd Street around 6 a.m. Wednesday. It had an Illinois license plate "K825852," with an August 2012 expiration. Anyone with information is asked to call Wentworth Area detectives at (312) 747-8382.


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