Wheelchair-bound man hit on way home by shuttle van


by Marvin Hurst with Joe Conger / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @marvinhurst


Posted on December 24, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 24 at 4:46 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Kenneth Varner's family has a desperate wish this Christmas. They want him to survive an early morning injury he had from a VIA Star Shuttle while he was in his wheelchair.

The 36-year old father and husband has been wheelchair bound since he was shot at 12 years of age. His latest physical challenge, however, may prove to be the ultimate bout with life and death.

According to San Antonio police, they were called out to the access road near I-35 and Bethune after 4 a.m. Friday, where Varner had been hit by a Star shuttle van.

"Just the look he gave me -- 'help me,'" said his tearful sister, Patricia Mason, who also witnessed the crash. "I couldn't do anything."

Mason and SAPD said Varner was trying to return to his nearby apartment from the store when his wheelchair ran out of power. His sister got the call to go help. She brought a charger, but it wasn't enough to help the motorized chair make it.

They started waving a white bag as a reflector while they pushed her brother towards his home, Mason said.

"First car we saw was the police car. He moved over," she said. "The other people moved over." But not the bus driver, she added.

Police said the van's driver didn't see Varner, his sister, and another person trying to get the wheelchair bound man out of the way. As the women jumped to out of the way, Varner was hit. He was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in critical condition. The driver was not injured, investigators said. That driver, however, was in a state of shock, they added.

Traffic investigators said the incident did not merit criminal charges because it was an accident.

Varner's family said the situation will require faith for a holiday miracle.