Elevator problems continue in courthouse

LynAnne Vucovich • Nov 5, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Having to go to court is already an undertaking, setting up dates and lawyers, but for some in Huron County, a trip to the courthouse is nearly impossible.

J.W. Kelly had to go to the Huron County Courthouse to settle his divorce. After going through the metal detector, he was told he had to climb a large set of stairs because the elevator is broken.

Kelly had a stroke, which affected his mobility greatly, and now can barely walk. he has been a resident of Huron County since 1961 and said there is no reason an elevator should be broken down in a place like a courthouse.

“I’m ashamed of Huron County,” Kelly said. “I didn’t ask to be disabled.”

The commissioners are creating a timeline for the Reflector detailing the exact dates of the elevator's state. They have been having issues finishing the project to get it in working order. 

“It’s a big issue, we’ve been worried about it and it’s unfortunate,” commissioner Terry Boose said. “We’re very unhappy with the vendor, it’s kind of out of our hands.”

Kelly had to sit in a hallway while his lawyers went up and down the steps, to keep him in the loop of the proceedings.

“My lawyer, she never did sit down,” he said. “My lawyers had to run up the stairs.”

Kelly is concerned for anyone else who needs to attend court.

“What do people do in wheelchairs?” Kelly said. “It’s got to be fixed and there’s no question about it.”

Kelly also said his lawyer had difficulty finding the bathroom. There is no bathroom on the first floor. There are bathrooms in the basement, second and third floor. Kelly was thankful he didn’t need them because he was unsure if he would have been capable of getting to them.

Sheriff’s Deputy Dick Barna said the elevator has been out of order for 13 1/2 months. Luckily, court proceedings have continued as normal if someone can’t get up the stairs.

“All we have to do is call the clerk of courts and they’ll come down and get the information, go up and deal with it,” Barna said. “There have been some people who haven’t been able to get upstairs.”

Barna said the elevator is mostly repaired, but still needs to pass inspection.

“We’ve only had one person (who) had to get up there,” he said. “(She was) in a wheelchair and we had to get her carried up there, otherwise, it’s just been an inconvenience for some people.”

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