A state trooper badly injured in a Sept. 15 head-on collision was escorted home to Wilkes County from Winston-Salem Tuesday afternoon by fellow troopers with the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Jonathan Barnes, 31, had been a patient at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center since the wreck, undergoing multiple surgeries and other treatment for serious shoulder, leg and foot fractures, said First Sgt. M.S. McLeod, top supervisor for Troop F, District II, including Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties. Barnes is stationed in Wilkes.
Barnes, a five-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, had surgery on a wrist fracture Tuesday morning, McLeod said, noting that the trooper has a great deal of orthopedic rehabilitation ahead before he returns to duty.
Barnes, riding in a sport/utility vehicle, was escorted by McLeod and troopers C.M. Anderson, R.R. Walker and Z.M. Jennings to the Wilkes line, where they were joined by troopers S.T. Hall and J.R. Miller. All operated their blue lights to Barnes’ home near Wilkesboro. Bringing up the rear of the procession were fire trucks from the Broadway fire department and a heavy rescue truck from the Wilkes Rescue Squad.
The wreck that injured Barnes occurred on N.C. 115 near the Broadway Fire Station and Damascus Church Road.
Luis Castillo, 37, of North Wilkesboro, driver of a 2005 Buick Lacrosse sedan, was also taken to Baptist by Wilkes EMS for treatment of serious injuries, Sgt. J.S. Swagger said.
At 10:12 p.m., Barnes was traveling south when Castillo went left of center, hitting the trooper head-on, Swagger said.
Both Barnes and Castillo were trapped in the wreckage of their vehicles. They were removed by Wilkes Rescue Squad personnel, along with personnel from the Broadway and North Wilkesboro fires departments, Sgt. R.K. Aldridge said.
Castillo was charged with driving while impaired, Swagger said. According to N.C. Department of Corrections records, Castillo has four prior convictions for DWI.
A chickenque benefit for Barnes is being held Oct. 12 at Millers Creek Fire Department on Boone Trail. The fundraiser is being conducted by N.C. Highway Patrol personnel stationed in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany.
Plates are $8, Trooper W.P. Miller said, and serving will be on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 10 a.m. The barbecue sauce is from a recipe belonging to Dale Sheets.
All of the chicken and other items on each plate has been donated. All proceeds will go to Barnes.
While Barnes is out on leave as he heals from his injuries, he will only be receiving about two thirds of his salary. Money being raised is to help offset the financial difficulties which will be experienced while the trooper heals.
An account has also been set up at the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) in his name. McLeod said the account was established because many people from the community wanted to donate money to help Barnes.
For those wishing to donate in this manner, the account number is 62533721. McLeod noted that a donation may be made at any SECU location in North Carolina.