Racing wheelchair stolen from paralympic athlete Erik Hightower - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Racing wheelchair stolen from paralympic athlete

Erik Hightower Erik Hightower
Erik Hightower's stolen race chair. (Provided) Erik Hightower's stolen race chair. (Provided)
Erik Hightower races. (Provided) Erik Hightower races. (Provided)
BETHEL, OH (FOX19) -

A paralympian visiting family in Bethel made a heartbreaking discovery over the weekend.

Phoenix native Erik Hightower had his custom racing wheelchair stolen from the parking lot of an area hospital.  He says his $5,000 chair was stolen from his cousin's truck while it was parked at Anderson Hospital in Anderson Township.

Now, he's just trying to get back what's so near and dear to his heart.

Hightower was born with spina bifida, and took a liking to wheelchair racing 20 years ago.

"I'm a paralympic wheelchair racer.  We have events all over the U.S., all over the world," said Hightower.

Just a few days ago, the Phoenix native finished his last, and one of his most special races, of the season in Indianapolis. He posted a time that is now an American record in the 100-meter race.  He did it in his brand new, custom wheelchair.

"I want to keep racing.  I just broke a record.  I want to break more records.  Without my chair, I can't do that," said Hightower.

That's because his chair was stolen from his cousin's vehicle while parked at a local hospital.

"They were there for maybe an hour.  They came back out, and they told us the chair was gone," Hightower told FOX19.

The chair is custom with an aluminum body and carbon fiber wheels built just for Hightower.

"To me, it cost me $5,000 to get it.  But, to anybody else, it really has no value," said Hightower.

At 28-years old, he's raced all over the world, including the paralympic games in Beijing in 2008.  Though his season is over, losing his wheelchair is jeopardizing his dreams.

"Hopefully it won't set me back too long.  The top guys in the world, they're training every day.  I need to be out there training every day so the next Paralympic Games in 2016, I can beat all these top guys," Hightower told FOX19.

To do that, he's asking for one thing.

"I don't want to press charges or anything.  I just want my chair back," he said.

Hightower got hooked on racing 20 years ago.  He's currently training at an Olympic training center in San Diego.  His race schedule next year includes competition in Toronto and Qatar.

Hightower has raced just twice with his new chair, and is still working to pay it off.  If he doesn't get it back, he'll have to find $5,000 more to buy another.

He has since filed a report with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • The Latest: Trump says Korea talks "going along very well'

    The Latest: Trump says Korea talks "going along very well'

    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:23 AM EDT2018-05-26 11:23:24 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:28 AM EDT2018-05-27 05:28:14 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Protesters hold candle lights during a rally to denounce the United States' policies against North Korea near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 25, 2018. North Korea said Friday that it's still willing to si...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Protesters hold candle lights during a rally to denounce the United States' policies against North Korea near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 25, 2018. North Korea said Friday that it's still willing to si...

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have met for the second time in a month to discuss peace commitments they reached in their first summit and Kim's potential meeting with...

    Full Story >

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have met for the second time in a month to discuss peace commitments they reached in their first summit and Kim's potential meeting with President Donald Trump.

    Full Story >
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:14 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:14:01 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:28 AM EDT2018-05-27 05:28:01 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    Full Story >

    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.

    Full Story >
  • 'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    'Quiet revolution' leads to abortion rights win in Ireland

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:43 AM EDT2018-05-26 06:43:19 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:27 AM EDT2018-05-27 05:27:12 GMT
    (Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...(Niall Carson/PA via AP). A man walks past a mural showing Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who had sought and been denied an abortion before she died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital, with the word YES over it, in Dublin, Irel...
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.Full Story >
    Official counting is set to begin in Ireland's historic abortion rights referendum, with two exit polls predicting an overwhelming victory for those seeking to end the country's strict ban.Full Story >
Powered by Frankly