12 ON YOUR SIDE: Repair shop makes progress on Josh's van

Source: Lufteknic Facebook page
Source: Lufteknic Facebook page

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Repair work on Josh Wilson's wheelchair-accessible van is underway.

The van was a wreck after Josh's former caregivers crashed it and stole thousands from him. Insurance repaired the van, but it wasn't reliable after the wreck.

The owner of a Richmond repair shop Lufteknic - Porsche Parts & Service saw our original investigation and had the van towed to his shop. They're doing a lot of sanding and removing and replacing parts - and they now know why Josh's van was running rough and cutting off in traffic.

This project has become a labor of love for the business that stepped up to help. It's an old van with more than 100,000 miles, but the 1996 Ford Econ Lodge 150 is a priority project - and not just for the people at Lufteknic. Outside vendors are clamoring to help rehab Josh's van.

13 different companies have already pledged parts and products, even the van's first tank of gas is guaranteed when the work is done.

"We talked about it with staff, and everybody felt the exact same way," said Lufteknic owner Robert Overholser. "Everyone was on board. Some of the staff had seen the piece and said, 'Absolutely, we're on board.'"

Josh Wilson, who uses a special head device to speak, was abused by his former caregivers. They crashed his van and charged thousands on his credit card before they were arrested. The chilling crime bothered many viewers.

"I was like, 'We have to do something,'" said Overholser.

Obvious mechanical problems and safety concerns are getting fixed, and meticulous mechanics and restoration and safety experts are going beyond our expectations. The work is being documented step-by-step on Lufteknic's Facebook page.

The reason why Josh's van was cutting off: a bad intake air pipe had split, and was taped and glued together. The makeshift repair caused a major air leak.

Most everything is coming off, including the old paint. The van is getting a good sanding. The headliner and interior wood panels, hub caps and engine cover all removed for better access to see what's needed.

Mobility Supercenter of Richmond dispatched an expert to check out the lift. It's also getting some maintenance.

"His van is in good hands. We appreciate you. We really do," said Overholser.

We will be there, with Josh in about a week or so, when he sees his van for the first time - repaired and refurbished.

Follow the rehab of Josh's van as it progresses on Lufteknic's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lufteknic-Porsche-Parts-Service/149974211722206?fref=ts

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