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Indian River County Sheriff's Office unwraps autism awareness vehicle

Vehicle covered in brightly colored puzzle pieces, superheroes, messages of 'different-ability' versus 'disability'
Indian River County Sheriff's Office autism awareness vehicle. July 26, 2023.jpg
Posted at 8:06 PM, Jul 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-26 23:07:27-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers on Wednesday unveiled its newest fleet addition: an Autism Awareness vehicle.

The vehicle, which is covered in brightly colored puzzle pieces, superheroes and messages of “different-ability” versus “disability," joins other specialty cars, including breast cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The agency conducts an annual fundraiser for autism programs.

"It's a really cool car. Exciting for me," Flowers said at the sheriff’s office hangar on 41st Avenue, "Those of you who don know my son is autistic. He is on the spectrum. He is 7 years old."

The new addition will be part of its Community Affairs Unit fleet and will be driven by Deputy Andy Bartuccelli, whose grandson also is on the spectrum.

“I’m going to be driving this everywhere I go … I guess you can consider it a patrol vehicle,” Bartuccelli told TCPalm. “I’m sure I’m going to get stopped all over.”

The wrap was donated by the Harty Family, Barker AC and HBS, Inc. Vero Beach Custom Signs and Wraps did the work.