Woman Drowns After Wheelchair Falls into Sacramento River

A disability rights advocate drowned in a bizarre accident when she fell into the Sacramento River in her wheelchair after watching Fourth of July fireworks.

Laurie Hoirup's husband, Jacob Hoirup, tells the Sacramento Bee the accident happened after she and several other people were getting off a pontoon at the Sacramento Marina Monday night after watching fireworks on the boat.

He says the 60-year-old woman was on a ramp between the boat and dock when the boat shifted and caused the ramp to fall into the water, bringing her, her husband and some others down with it.

Jacob Hoirup says he tried to save her but the wheelchair was too heavy and he ran out of oxygen.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Hoirup as chief deputy director of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. She also published several books about living with disabilities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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