Disabled Man 'Denied' Handicapped Parking at Stadium in Donna
Fri, 03 Sep 2010 04:04:05 GMT — Elfego Garza has difficulty getting out of a car. Just walking for him appears to be a challenge. Under his shirt, a pacemaker and defibrillator work to keep his heart in check. Doctors warn he shouldn't be on his feet for long. A handicapped parking permit is supposed to help limit the amount of his movement. It wasn't the case last Friday evening when he had to walk the length of about 3 football fields after parking at Bennie Le Prade stadium in Donna. His son, Elfego Garza, Junior, said he was with him when a Donna ISD security guard denied them access to available handicapped parking spaces on the visitor's side of the stadium. "I was shocked," his son said. "I thought maybe it was a new rule." His father described what made things even worse for him. "When I got in there (ticket booth)... I saw about 4 or 5 spaces... Empty... Clear... Nobody there," he said. So instead of parking just feet from the entrance, Garza was forced to trek on a lengthy, dangerous journey. Roberto Loredo, Superintendent at Donna ISD, said he knows that was wrong. Loredo personally apologized to the family after hearing about the situation from Action 4 News. The superintendent said his staff is trained on disability rights laws. "When I was called by Mr. Wolf here... I did talk to the chief... So I TMm having him follow up to make sure if it was done specifically... Who it was so we can address the issue... That's not Donna ISD... We don't allow that to happen," Loredo said to the family outside the stadium. And while spirits have been broken, the district's apology is helping to heal Garza's weak heart.