Thursday Jul 28 2011
Ex-Auburn woman paralyzed in hit and run draws on courage, community support
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a hit-and-run driver, Amanda Barnes is facing the future with courage and determination. Barnes, 22, was seriously injured July 12 while walking in a crosswalk in the Bay Area community of Emeryville. Emeryville Police investigators continue to look for the driver. Speaking by phone Thursday from her bed at Oakland’s Highland General Hospital, the 2007 Placer High School grad said she’s thankful for the outpouring of support she has experienced since being struck and dragged about 30 feet by the SUV before rolling under. Barnes was going to college and looking toward a career in art. Her work is now being displayed on a Facebook page, “Hope for Amanda Barnes,” that has been established as an online communications center as she recovers in hospital. “I’m definitely thinking about the future,” Barnes said. “I’m not letting anything from the accident deter me from my future goals in art. I’m definitely grateful I still have my artistic hands and I still have my brain. I’m still me.” Barnes lived in Auburn until she was 18, and then attended the California College of the Arts for two years. With finances tight, she’s been working at Target in the Bay Area while continuing her studies. Her goal is to turn her art into a career at DreamWorks or Pixar. Barnes said she can remember stepping into the crosswalk and the yellow beams of the SUV approaching but not stopping. “All of a sudden, there was a car coming straight for me,” Barnes said. “I tried to get out of the way but from what I saw it looked like it sped up and it appeared that he did it intentionally.” Barnes said she could remember the feelings of disbelief as she was dragged under the vehicle. “Judging from the mark on my back and buttock, I was run over by the tire,” Barnes said. “I was saying to myself ‘Oh my God, oh my God, is this really happening to me?’” Barnes said she tried to get up from the asphalt but couldn’t move her legs. She was hyperventilating as a woman who had been riding a bicycle came over to help and a taxi driver called 9-1-1. “I’m amazed I survived,” Barnes said. “I’m amazed I’m still here. I have a ton of cards and flowers. I’m glad they’re in my hospital room and not on my grave. I definitely feel blessed.” Barnes said that the support she has received has been so overwhelming that it would be hard to thank everyone without leaving someone out. To help find the hit-and-run driver, the Barnes family has established an account – the Amanda Barnes Reward Fund at Community 1st Bank – for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver who hit Amanda Barnes. Once the fund reaches $5,000, all other donations will be used to aid Barnes’ recovery. Barnes will be interviewed during the 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. time slot Friday on KAHI 950 AM. Emeryville Detective Lance Goodfellow said Thursday that no new leads or arrests have taken place in the case since Barnes was struck. The incident took place near the intersection of Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue. The description police have provided is of a dark-colored SUV. Pete Dufour, a neighbor of Barnes when she lived in Auburn, said that there is tremendous support for her in the community. And Emeryville Police are not only investigating the incident but going door-to-door at businesses to raise funds. “There are great things being done for her by the Emeryville Police and here in town,” Dufour said.