Young shooting victim needs specialized van

Young shooting victim needs specialized van

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Driving with a disability isn't rare anymore. But, it is very expensive to make happen.

We've been following 23-year-old Kionna Jones's journey ever since a shooting left her paralyzed. She tells On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker she needs help getting around.

We've seen Kionna accomplish so much over 10 years. She's shown others how to advocate for themselves. She graduated college, got her driver's license, and now she could use some help. Kionna sent us video of her driving on the interstate for the first time with her instructor in a modified state training vehicle. Her reaction was priceless, "Mom do you see me? OMG. This is crazy. This is wild. God is good."

She passed the state's rigorous driver training but she still isn't fully independent. The only thing stopping Kionna from hoisting herself into driver seat instead of the passenger side is having a vehicle of her own. Everywhere Kionna goes a friend or family must also go.

"I'm going to be more independent. That's my next goal to be fully independent. I wouldn't have to be on someone else's time. I can get any job that I want to get," she said.

Right now, Kionna works with children at New Beginnings Daycare.Social work is her passion. She's looking for a job in the field and has an answer for every challenge.

"They might think what can you do for me? I had that in an internship. What can she do she's in a wheelchair? I'm here to help you in any way that I can," she explained.

After she lost her ability walk Kionna was depressed and says her emotions are still sometimes raw over a senseless shooting 10 years ago over a pair of sunglasses.

"I'm not going to say you took my life away. But you took what I love to do away," Kionna said through a flood of tears. "I like to walk. I love to dance. You know I still get around but everything is different."

She doesn't hate the man who shot her but she's still working through it with counseling. Kionna is focused on doing social work and getting a vehicle so she can.

"I would have more opportunities. I would be more independent. and honestly to be a social worker I have to help myself first before I can help anyone else," she said.

A Dodge van with hand controls, a twist seat and lower floor conversion. Ryan Green with the Mobility Center of Virginia  says he uses similar equipment and the modifications are a perfect fit for Kionna.

"This is going to give her independence. the ability to support her own lifestyle. hang out with her friends and come and go as she pleases," Green said.

Kionna wants to be on her own. That's her goal right now.  She has set up a GoFundMe page if you'd like to help her get that van or you can call 345-1212.

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