Jeffrey Stamm, a former tenor with the New York Metropolitan Opera, has used a wheelchair since suffering a stroke five years ago. He says he moved to Ann Arbor last August because he wanted to live in a safe place. At the end of January, he was hit by an AATA bus while crossing Liberty in his chair. He had the right of way, but the turning driver “didn’t see me,” says Stamm, sitting in his broken wheelchair in Courthouse Square, his left arm in a sling. Stamm suffered a dislocated left shoulder, and his arm was broken in two places. “Had I been strapped into my chair,” he says, “I would have been killed.”

Stamm’s friend Jerry Foster, also a Courthouse resident, is a familiar figure downtown, zipping around in his power chair with his rat terrier, Sarge. Foster says drivers often overlook people in wheelchairs, especially in winter, when snow banks reduce visibility and uncleared corners hinder travel. AATA community relations manager Mary Stasiak says she can’t comment on the accident because it’s in litigation. Stamm says his lawyer, Richard Bernstein, “knows the board of the transit authority very well.”