Motorized all-terrain chair giving disabled access to hard-to-reach places

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 2:57 PM EST

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - Those who are disabled can now have access to places that were impossible to reach, thanks to an newly designed all-terrain tracked chair.

“It allows individuals with physical limitations the ability to traverse uneven or rough terrain, such as the woods and the beach independently,” said Cordell Jeter, president and owner of EcoRovers.

Jeter, who has been a paraplegic for 33 years following a car accident, started putting together these specialized chairs with his wife out of his garage. Now they use a manufacturer in Tampa. It continues to be a labor of love for him.

“We had parts and pieces manufactured elsewhere and we were assembling them right in our back yard in North Port,” said Jeter.

Whether you are at the beach or deep in the woods, Jeter says this machine is providing a lot of independence and freedom for those who are disabled.

“We all cry, it’s very emotional to see what this does for people,” said Sandy Jeter, Cordell’s wife and business partner. “The kids are all smiles and grown-ups as well. They can’t get the smile off their face and that just feels so good.”

Bradenton native Julian Gavino says there are numerous challenges to being in a manual wheelchair, including going over grass, carpet or other terrain that isn’t flat. He says something like this can open up a whole new world for the disabled community.

“It would be amazing if everybody had access to something like that,” said Gavino. “And they could do stuff that maybe they used to do before being disabled”

Jeter is pushing for nonprofit, service-oriented organizations in every county in Florida to be able to provide this all-terrain chair to the disabled at parks, national monuments, beaches and other popular spots.

“Somebody should be able to go to the beach, hand them a license, sign a waiver, acquire a chair, go enjoy the day ... come back and talk about the joys of the day,” said Jeter.

This chair is currently available in some places in Florida including a specialized boat for the disabled in the Tampa area. The city of Sarasota is talking about adding two of these chairs at Lido Beach, that will be free to use, in the near future. The city says they continue to be proactive when it comes to making sure everyone with a disability can get to where they need to go.

“For those that do have disabilities, they still want to be functioning members of society as well,” said Gary Brumley, ADA coordinator for the city of Sarasota. “It’s great for them to get out and do what everybody else is doing.”

This all-terrain track chair goes about 3 miles an hour and is controlled by a joystick, but Jeter says more importantly it’s a machine that’s giving back control to so many lives.

“People need access to this technology,” said Jeter. “So that has really been the focus of what we’re doing, trying to create awareness and community access.”

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