SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 22, 2012

Danvers High grad in critical condition

By Ethan Forman
Staff Writer

---- — DANVERS — Police, family and a crime prevention program are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in a hit-and-run incident early Sunday morning that critically injured a Danvers native and nurse who worked for a hospital in the Midlands section of South Carolina.

Lindsay Bires, 24, a Danvers High Class of 2006 graduate, was struck by a car that jumped a curb as she stood on a sidewalk outside the hospital where she worked, police in Columbia, S.C., said.

Bires was listed yesterday in critical condition at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in Columbia, S.C., police, the hospital and her sister, Lauren MacKinnon, said.

Bires works as a cardiac nurse at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, which is in the immediate vicinity of the hospital where she is being treated.

MacKinnon, 34, took part in a news conference at the Columbia Police Department yesterday afternoon to announce the reward to find who was involved in the accident and implore whoever was responsible to “come forward.”

“My sister Lindsay on that night was doing her job,” she said in a statement. “She continues to do her job. Please, whoever is responsible for this, come forward. Please do the right thing for my sister.”

“This is not just another accident,” said Columbia police Chief Randy Scott in a statement. “Lindsay Bires is trained to help save lives. Now she is the one who is fighting for her life. Lindsay deserves to know the truth.”

MacKinnon said in an interview her sister is showing signs of improvement.

“She seems to be making positive strides,” MacKinnon said. “She lifted her finger today.”

Investigators say Bires was standing on a sidewalk at 4 Medical Park Drive, a cut through for the hospital, around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, during a work break. That’s when a white, compact car “ran over the curb and hit her,” MacKinnon said. Witnesses told police the car ran off the side of the road at least twice before striking Bires then leaving the scene.

The early morning hours meant there was not a lot of traffic or people in the area to see what happened, said Jennifer Timmons, public information officer for the Columbia Police Department.

By chance, MacKinnon said, two women were nearby and saw the car swerving, and after the accident came to Bires’ immediate aid. Also by chance, an empty advanced life support ambulance was driving by, stopped and transported Bires to the hospital. She said her sister received care in less than 10 minutes, and she is hopeful that will make a difference.

“Lindsay is not alone on this path of recovery,” said Palmetto Health Richland Hospital Administrator on Duty E.T. Taylor in a statement. “From the moment this event occurred, faith allowed fellow co-workers to be right by her side to help her; faith allowed an available Advanced Cardiac Life Support ambulance to pull up even before the first 911 call could be made; faith had the Trauma Team already in place and faith has brought Lindsay’s family safely to be by her side.”

MacKinnon said Bires is her only sister, was the maid of honor at her wedding, and is the godmother of one of her two daughters. Bires’ parents live in Danvers. MacKinnon said she first received word about the accident in a call at 4 a.m. that morning from the hospital’s administrator, whom she described as supportive.

Bires has undergone surgery since the accident, said Timmons.

“She is a true victim,” Timmons said.

The Columbia police Traffic Safety Unit canvassed the area and asked local businesses for surveillance video footage. While the hospital may have surveillance footage of its own, “I don’t believe it captured the actual incident,” Timmons said. So far, the car that was involved has not been identified or located, but police say it may have damage to the driver’s side.

Police are asking residents in the Columbia community with information about the crime to submit tips anonymously through the area’s Crimestoppers program. The Bires family, the Midlands, S.C., Crimestoppers program, which operates an anonymous tip line, and the Columbia Police Department are all contributing to the reward.

“Obviously, this is someone’s life, this is someone’s loved one, and we need to know what happened,” Timmons said.

Bires graduated from Danvers High, where she played field hockey, in 2006. She studied nursing at the University of South Carolina and traveled abroad to China and Australia before graduating with honors in 2011, MacKinnon said. She came back to South Carolina to work, and she and her boyfriend moved to the area.

“We are praying for her recovery; she is going to have a long fight,” MacKinnon said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.