Orange Park teen struck by car continues to recover

Heather Barnes struck by car in October 2012

Heather Barnes
Heather Barnes

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Heather Barnes was hit by a car while she was walking from Orange Park High School in October 2012.

The 15-year-old girl was in a coma for months and is now home, where she is receiving around-the-clock care.

Channel 4 spoke Wednesday night with Barnes' sister, Jessica Barnes, who said the cost of caring for her sister is becoming overwhelming.

"She recognizes my dad and my sister and my brother, but she doesn't recognize anybody else," said Jessica. "They told us she wasn't going to be able to do anything and she's pretty much done everything they said she couldn't do."

Jessica started a fundraiser for her sister with the hopes of getting Heather into rehab and started down the long road she has to recovery.

"In the last two months it's been getting a lot better, like we're all pretty happy because she's coming out of a coma, which is amazing. It's taken a long time," said Jessica.

Heather Barnes was hit by a car while jaywalking across Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park.

As she was leaving Orange Park High School with a group of friends in October 2012, she was struck by a car, which left her skull cracked in seven places, causing severe brain damage. The injury lead to countless surgeries.

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"During the day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., we always have a nurse and then my dad will relieve them if he gets home early because he wants to spend time with her, and then we have one at night so dad can sleep and then we don't have anything on the weekends, except for four hours on Saturday," said Jessica.

The goal, Jessica explained, is to get Heather into regular rehab sessions, which are very costly for Jessica's single father. To help with some of Heather's bills, Jessica started a fund online here.

"I feel better about it because even if it only helps a little bit and only pays for like two rehabs, it's something," said Jessica. "I hope that I can raise enough for my dad to just take care of her because I know it costs a lot of money."