By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

A 58-year-old handicapped Texas woman recently died while sleeping in a truck at a Brookings motel parking lot after motel personnel declined to provide a wheelchair accessible room.

Karen Glover of Amarillo, Texas, died in the Brookings Inn Resort parking lot around 7:30 a.m. Sept. 2 after confusion about a reservation, the motel only offering a second-floor room though she was paraplegic.

Glover’s cousin, Kimberley Gates of Keizer, Oregon said Glover offered to sleep in the truck with Gates’ mother after the motel was unable to switch them into a wheelchair accessible room. Glover was traveling with Gates and Gates’ mother and daughter. The group had spent Sept. 1 at Crater Lake before driving to the coast.

Motel Manager Dan Murphy said he was on-duty that night, but Gates’ reservation was not for a first floor or ADA accessible room. He said he questioned the desk clerks about the reservation later, but said none remembered making the reservation or that it was for an accessible room.

Gates said she called the Brookings Inn directly to make sure the room she reserved was wheelchair accessible and would accommodate her cousin.

“I was assured it would accommodate Karen,” she said.

She said she received a call Saturday evening to confirm her reservation and told the caller they would be arriving late.

“Upon arrival at the Brookings Inn late that evening, I found the front desk staff closing up and my keys taped to the front door,” Gates said. “I took the envelope and noticed it said ‘room 203’ – Upstairs. No elevator and no way to get my cousin up the stairs.”

Murphy said he called all over the area trying to find a room for them that night, “but there were no rooms anywhere.”

Their reservation was for an upstairs room, he said, because that was all that was left, and their reservation had no notations on it indicating special concerns or needs.

“I had spoken to two people who assured me I had a reservation for a wheelchair accessible room on the busiest travel day of the year,” Gates said. “Again, I was told ‘sorry there is nothing I can do.’”

After failing to find a room elsewhere, Gates said, the group decided to split up at Glover’s request so Gates could get some sleep because she had to drive the next day, according to Gates.

The group removed the bedding from one of the motel beds for those sleeping in the truck and said goodnight.

“I received a phone call from my mother that Karen had stopped breathing at 7:30 a.m.,” Gates said.

Gates said she performed CPR on her cousin on the truck seat and 911 was called, but when EMTs arrived, they were unable to revive her.

Brookings Police Lt. Donny Dotson confirmed a 911 caller reported a woman had stopped breathing at the Brookings Inn 7:30 a.m. Sept. 2.

According to Gates, a clerk from the Brookings Inn contacted her later Sept. 2 and informed her a downstairs room was now available, and when she explained what had happened, the clerk burst into tears and said she had made the reservation and properly set it up, but the night crew had moved another booking downstairs.

Owners of the Brookings Inn Resort did not respond to requests for comment.

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