Wheelchair-bound man's death blamed on loose dogs

KELSO, Wash. – A woman pushing the wheelchair said loose dogs caused a Cowlitz County man in his wheelchair to roll toward his death.

Gregory Isaacson, 58, lived at Cowlitz Gardens Adult Family Home in Kelso. His caregiver, Jackie Harris, took Isaacson and another resident for a walk on Friday morning just before 11.

Then, several dogs from a nearby house ran toward them. They tried to shoo the dogs away, but Isaacson went down a slope next to the road and fell out of the wheelchair head first.

“It was like he was in slow motion It was like he was on a slide and he was just kind of sliding down that little embankment,” said Harris. “But there was nothing I could do.”

Jody Schreiner, co-owner of the adult home, said Isaacson might have been kicking the dogs with his good leg, which could have caused his wheelchair to roll down the embankment.

Isaacson was taken to the Oregon Health Science University hospital in Portland where he died Sunday, apparently suffering from a broken neck.

The dogs’ owner said she installed tethers to keep her dogs in her yard when they are outside, even though according to the law, she is not required to.

“One of the challenges of living out in the county, of course, is that there are no leash laws, so folks will have animals running around very commonly,” said Cowlitz County Sheriff Bill Mahoney.

The sheriff’s office said it had no record of any past complaints against those dogs or their owner.

Investigators said there would be no charges in the case and would not take the dogs from the owner because there was no evidence the dogs actually bit anyone during the incident.