Saturday, October 02, 2010

Segway company owner donated 1,000 units to U.S. vets, prior to accidental Segway death

James Heselden, the late Segway company owner, died last weekend. It was ironic in two ways: he died after driving his ruggedized Segway off a cliff and into the River Wharfe, and he was about to be honored for donating 1,000 Segways to U.S. veterans.

Jerry Kerr, president and co-founder of Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT) said:
"We were so looking forward to thanking Jimi in person and are pained that we will not be able to do so. Jimi's tragic death is a staggering loss."
DRAFT sponsors the Segs4Vets program, which provides Segway transporters to help injured veterans become mobile.

Although worth around $265 million and ranked 395th on the Sunday Times Rich List, Heselden was known for his generosity. Two years ago, he founded the Leeds Community Foundation in his home city with a £10million donation, which he followed with a £3million donation in 2009 and another £10million last week.

The first of the Segways are to be delivered to 48 vets, some still receiving treatment at the U.S. Army's Walter Reed Medical Center, on Oct. 6 at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

While Heselden's death coincidentally occurred just before a study was released that found increasing frequency and severity among Segway injuries. Kerr dismissed that.
"The Segway is among the safest, if not the safest, mobility devices out there."
James Heselden bought the Segway company less than a year ago from its U.S. inventor Dean Kamen. There are currently no further details available about Heselden's death, according to the company.



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