A Lynwood police officer from Burns Harbor suffered brain, skull and multiple other injuries in a motorcycle accident Saturday in Iowa, family members said.
Craig Barnes, 38, lost control of his motorcycle in Davenport while attending the Rally on the River motorcycle event with friends — including former Lynwood Police Chief Michael Mears, Officer Adam Zosso and other Lynwood officers — at the time of the accident.
"He'd gotten a little bit ahead of the rest of the group on this deserted road and there was no traffic in between," Acting Lynwood Police Chief Terrance Shubert said. "When the other guys caught up to him, they found him in the street. They don't know exactly what happened."
Bill Zientara, of Porter, Barnes' brother-in-law, said Barnes initially was transported to a local hospital before being airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospital.
Zientara said Wednesday morning Barnes "is not able to communicate well at all" and that the two-year Lynwood officer was suffering from multiple skull fractures and bleeding on the brain that required removing part of the skull to relieve the pressure.
Zientara said Barnes also suffered multiple facial and rib fractures and damage to the lining of his lungs in the accident.
"He wiggled his toes and fingers and gave a baby thumbs-up," Zientara said.
Zientara's wife — Barnes' sister Laurie Barnes-Zientara — remained in Iowa with her brother and his wife Wednesday. Zientara's said his wife called him Monday night saying the family was hoping to have Barnes transported via helicopter to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but their insurance would not cover the $10,000 cost.
"I said, 'Gee, I'll cash out my 401(k),' then some friends on Facebook said to try GoFundMe," Zientara said.
Zientara created a GoFundMe Web page aimed at collecting $10,000 to cover the transfer costs. The page went live about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. About 24 hours later, the site had collected just more than $12,000.
Barnes has been with the Lynwood department for about two years, Shubert said. Prior to his service with the department, Barnes — a Highland native — served on police forces in Highland, Burnham, Porter and Burns Harbor as well as with the Air Force Special Police, as a U.S. Air Marshal and U.S. customs and railroad officer, his brother-in-law said.
He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, father of three boys and one stepson, Zientara said.
Shubert described Barnes as "a great asset to this department."
"He already had a lot of experience with other departments when he joined and was working with tactical officers most of last summer where he was able to do a lot of good work and make a huge amount of felony arrests," Shubert said.
Shubert said he was pleased to see the outpouring of support for Barnes.
"I couldn't be happier seeing everyone come together like this and coming together to help Craig and his family in his time of need," Shubert said.