Old Town event organizers hope to help hit-and-run victim

Barnes currently in a San Francisco rehabilitation facility, father says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn community has a chance to celebrate a part of its history while also helping to raise funds for a former Auburn woman paralyzed in a hit-and-run incident. On Monday evening Old Town Auburn is hosting a dedication of its newly refurbished firehouse. The celebration will also include a street party with a barbecue dinner hosted by the Auburn 49er Lions Club and live music by the band Mad Dash. “Old Town was scheduled to host a street dance and party with the Sugar Plump Fairies and Mad Dash during the four days of the Amgen Tour of California (celebration) in May, but with the rain came its cancellation,” said Linda Robinson, president of the Old Town Business Association. “I knew that I wanted to resurrect this event sometime this summer.” As part of the effort to raise funds for Amanda Barnes, who in July was struck in a crosswalk in Emeryville by a hit-and-run driver who fled the scene, the Sugar Plump Fairies and resident Jackie Weston are organizing a silent auction, according to Robinson. Robinson said when she found out about Barnes, she knew the event would make a perfect fundraiser. “Bad things happen to good people all the time,” Robinson said. “Sometimes people say, ‘There is a reason for everything’ but often times the reasons are not clear and answers don’t come. When Amanda was tragically struck down by an unknown assailant, her life changed forever at that very moment. I don’t know Amanda personally but have come to know of her through my own friends, and I knew that the caring and giving community in which she had lived would step up and she would become a big part of this event.” Casey Conway, a member of the 49er Lions Club, said the club wanted to get involved to support the local community and Barnes. “We had an opportunity to support a local event first off, which is very important to us, but also I think it’s this young lady that’s been injured … it’s important to support her also,” Conway said. “The focus of our club is Auburn first and kids second. Although she’s not a kid by definition … it’s important we support our community, which is what we do, and this is one way to do it.” Keith Barnes, Amanda Barnes’ father, said he heard about the fundraiser through Weston, a friend of the Barnes family, and plans to attend. “The overwhelming support of Auburn and the Emeryville Police Department in particular has been tremendous, and we are just totally speechless and appreciate everyone’s support, and love and kindness in this time,” Keith Barnes said. Barnes said his daughter was recently transferred to a rehabilitation facility in San Francisco and has a lot of work ahead of her in terms of her recovery. Barnes said Amanda is trying to keep her spirits up and her family is helping her with that as much as they can. “I believe she will come back to Auburn after her rehabilitation is over with, but I’m not really sure how long the rehab is going to take,” he said. “It could be a couple months. It could be longer. We are just not sure right now.” The family is trying to have as positive an outlook as possible, Barnes said. “We are still praying for a miracle in her case, trying to make everyone stay positive and pray for a miracle that she will be able to walk again,” he said. Sgt. Fred Dauer, of the Emeryville Police Department, said Friday the department currently has no new leads in Amanda Barnes’ case, but detectives are in the process of getting in touch with witnesses to talk more about the hit-and-run. “We are still working on it, and we hope the best for Amanda,” Dauer said. Reach Bridget Jones at --------------------------------------------------- Old Town street party and Amanda Barnes fundraiser When: 7-10 p.m. Monday Where: Old Town Auburn near the firehouse on Washington Street Information: Call Linda Robinson at (530) 885-1585 or visit