Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For more than a year, Keith Barnes has undergone physical therapy to get back to what he loves to do — cut hair.
Barnes stopped at an accident scene in December of 2011 to help a woman who was involved in a rollover accident.
“I felt like if that was me I would want somebody to help me,” he said.
He was carrying the woman to safety when a drunk driver hit them. He suffered seriously injuries and his left leg was amputated below the knee.
Barnes is now back at the Grooming House in St. Paul, on Dale and University. During his absence, the barber shop just wasn’t the same, without his quick wit and huge laugh. He was out for more than a year and a half, after his concern for someone he didn’t know turned tragic.
“It was just a really terrible accident,” he said. “I mean, seeing something like that I just felt like I needed to help.”
Barnes witnessed the rollover on I-94 near Lexington Parkway after the car swerved to miss a truck. He and the guy driving the truck the woman tried to avoid stopped, and together they carried her across the highway, only to be hit by a drunk driver.
“That’s one of my questions I ask myself: How did I not see a van coming that way like that?” Barnes said.
In the accident, he suffered head trauma, internal injuries and fractures to his legs, wrist, shoulder and pelvis.
“A lot of people think I should be angry, upset because of the situation,” Barnes said. “Nope. It was an accident, not like he meant to hit us.”
The man who helped him carry the female victim died, and she lost her left leg. Barnes says he is upset at the amount of time the drunk driver got for his role in the accident.
“I’m mad that he only got 8 months,” Barnes said. “Upset about that partly because I got hurt but somebody died in the situation.”
The accident, he says, has helped him focus more on living. His three sons are all in college, and he has plans to keep doing what he loves the most.
“I love it,” he said. “I ain’t gonna lie, everyday I’m happy to come [to the barber shop].”
Barnes said if he had to do it all over again he would help by staying in his car, calling police and waiting until they arrived.