Teen’s family struggles to make home handicap accessible after bus crash

Teen's family struggles to make home handicap accessible after bus crash (Image 1)

The family of a Hickman County teen who was badly injured in a violent school bus crash is struggling to make their home handicap accessible.

Demetria Barner, 17, is confined to a wheelchair and spends most of her days at her grandmother’s Williamsport home because she has trouble getting around her own home.

Barner was critically injured in April when the Hickman County school bus she was riding ran off Primm Springs Road, went airborne, according to witnesses, struck a concrete culvert and crashed into a small patch of trees.

The teen was asleep at the time and was tossed around the school bus before being pinned underneath a backseat.

Barner suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis, several broken bones in her face and brain trauma.

She was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she spent six weeks and had four surgeries. She is now on a waiting list for a hip replacement.

“I was supposed to get my license and it makes me feel like I should have done that earlier and driven so maybe it would have been safer,” said Barner.

Barner’s 12-year-old sister was also hurt but her injuries were not serious.

“Who would have ever thought that a child would have been injured this critically?  I mean, there are accidents everyday, bus accidents, but not to the point where she almost died,” the teen’s grandmother, Sheila Damron told News 2.

The teen hopes to someday be able to walk again, but knows she has a long road ahead of her.

The home she currently shares with six other family members is cramped and is not wheelchair accessible.

When she does stay there, Barner must sleep in a hospital bed in the living room because the halls are too narrow to get to her bedroom. She cannot take a shower and is only able to move from the living room to the kitchen, according to the teen.

Barner’s mother has put work on hold to care for her daughter. Her father has a job but money is tight and the family is not able to afford to fix the house.

A fund is set up for the family under the “Demetria Barner Donation Account” at U.S. Bank.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the school bus was driven by Jamie Sandy Christmas, who has 15-years of experience driving a school bus.

Investigators and the District Attorney are waiting to see the toxicology report.

The family is taking legal action.

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