Van stolen from paralyzed teen's family

April 20, 2011 9:11:02 PM PDT
A Chicago teenager paralyzed by gun violence two years ago is now the victim of another crime. The specialized van that transports Ondelee Perteet was stolen outside the family's home, his mother tells ABC7.

Deetreena Perteet ran out her front door early Wednesday morning after she spotted her vehicle moving outside her bedroom window. She discovered the 1998 red Dodge Caravan was gone. The van was a gift from a businessman after a 2009 shooting left her son a quadriplegic.

Ondelee's mother says without the special van the family is unable to get him where he needs to go.

"My car is gone. That van means a lot to me, and I appreciated that van, because somebody thought enough to give us the van because we didn't have anything. Now it's as if we don't have anything again," Deetreena Perteet told ABC7 as tears rolled down her cheeks.

With the determination of his mother, the now 16-year-old Ondelee has started to regain movement and is even talking small steps with the help of others. The family calls him a miracle, but he still needs wheelchair and the van to get around.

"We needed the car to go grocery shopping, you know, to take me to therapy, to go on family outings, you know, and just like to come and visit my sisters and family. So yeah, I feel bad," said Ondelee.

"We need that van. I need that van to get him around," Deetreena Perteet told ABC7," said Deetreena Perteet.

Mrs. Perteet filed a police report and has called authorities for updates. She says the van is their lifeline and prays it will be returned .

"I just want my van back. I can't afford one. I don't steal from people. So yes, it hurts me and irritates me when you take something from me. I feel like I have been violated," said Deetreena Perteet.

The trial of the young man accused of shooting Ondelee will take place in early May. Ondolee says he plans to live life to the fullest and will not let obstacles stop him from reaching his potential. He enjoys being a motivational speaker speaking out against violence and hopes to be an actor someday. Ondolee tells ABC7 failure is not an option for him.