Calgary couple says “Fargo” production damaged their wheelchair-accessible van

A Calgary couple who both use wheelchairs say they’ve gotten the runaround from officials with the Emmy-nominated FX series “Fargo” over the way their vehicle was returned to them after being used in filming.

Erik Freiburger and his wife, Bonnie, tell CTV Calgary they leased their wheelchair-accessible Ford Econoline van to the series for a scene that was filmed in late February.

When it was returned in March, they were told that the rear window had been broken and replaced, but Erik says the lift has malfunctioned since then, trapping him for several hours.

He says a production coordinator agreed to pick up the cost for repairs, but so far has failed to pay the $2,000 he racked up in temporary and permanent fixes.

In a statement, coordinator Ralph McCoy says he will be contacting the Freiburgers next week.

He says he is still investigating the damages claim, but adds the production always pays its outstanding bills.

“I did have another accessible wheelchair company look at the lift before returning it,” says McCoy. ”I was advised there were no broken parts … There is more to this, it is not all that simple when some try to take advantage of film.”

Asked why he had a mechanic inspect the lift, McCoy says it was “acting up” during filming.

“I am a little surprised that we’re being treated this way, particularly with the vulnerability of us being in wheelchairs and our dependence on our vehicle for transportation,” says Erik Freiburger. “I didn’t think it’d be this difficult to just fix our van.”

The third season of the series, which is filmed in southern Alberta, is up for 16 Emmy Awards on Sept. 17, including best limited series and nods for actors Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon and David Thewlis.


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