Friday Jun 15 2012
Police stymied in ID?ing hit-and-run driver who paralyzed Auburn woman
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Almost a year later, reward of $5,000 still outstanding
AUBURN CA - Nearly a year since Auburn?s Amanda Barnes was paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a hit-and-run driver, Emeryville Police continue to stay on the case. At the same time, the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case has reached $5,000 ? with another $7,000 raised in the Auburn community and available to assist Barnes. Barnes, a 23-year-old Placer High School grad, was injured while walking in a crosswalk in the Bay Area community. She was struck and dragged by the vehicle for about 30 feet before rolling under the SUV. Officer Brian Head, Emeryville Police spokesman, said that the investigation remains active and detectives are cognizant that it has been almost a year since Barnes was seriously injured. But new information that could lead to an arrest has yet to materialize, Head said. ?We haven?t had any new leads,? Head said. In Auburn, Community 1st Bank has held an account in trust for donations to help Barnes and police. The Amanda Barnes Reward Fund was established shortly after July 12, with the first $5,000 earmarked for reward money and anything above that amount to be used to aid Barnes? recovery. Bob Haydon, Community 1st Bank president and CEO, said that the financial institution is poised to turn over a check to Barnes in the full amount. ?We?ve been in touch with her and her attitude is just amazing,? Haydon said. ?People are just so generous. Dr. Bill Kirby (an Auburn City Councilman) started this account and it immediately just took off. Nearly $12,000 has been given by the community.? Barnes was going to college and looking toward a career in art. Her mother, Debbie Ward, said Friday that plans are to have some of her daughter?s work displayed at an upcoming Art Walk in Auburn. Over the past several months, Barnes has learned to drive a car with hand controls. With the reward money still available, Ward said one possibility is papering the Emeryville area with reward posters. That would include the intersection of Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue, near where Amanda was struck. In the meantime, Barnes and her family can?t thank the community enough for the support it has provided, she said. That help ranged from donations of a few dollars to a group of Home Depot employees working to make Barnes? house wheelchair-accessible in front of her return home from hospital in September. ?I don?t think I properly thanked everyone who helped us enough,? Ward said. ?There were so many people who helped.?