Community Support Humbling for Local Family Known for Helping Others

Progress Slow But Steady for Retired Cop Struck by Car
By Gina G. Scala | Nov 06, 2019

West Creek — For more than three decades of marriage, Kathleen Barr knew she had the best husband. But seeing his big-heartedness returned by community members, in the aftermath of a car accident in which he was struck by an oncoming vehicle as he stopped to help at the scene of an accident on the Garden State Parkway last month, is humbling.

Scott Barr, a retired Ship Bottom police sergeant and Ocean County Regional SWAT Team member, was transported to the Atlantic City Regional Trauma Center Oct. 12, where he remains. He’s undergone multiple procedures and surgeries.

Kathleen, who was with her husband when he was struck near Exit 40 on the Parkway south, said she watched the accident unfold.

“Everything was in slow motion and there’s no sound,” she said earlier this week, adding, “The support, the prayers; it’s just happening all around us. It’s heartbreaking and tragic. Our hearts are broken, but they’re so full.”

An off-duty emergency medical technician was stuck in the ensuing traffic after the initial accident and immediately ran to help, Kathleen said. The first State Trooper who arrived had a newer type of tourniquet that was used to stem blood loss. Scott was given 16 units of blood in the immediate aftermath of the accident, Kathleen said.

“I fully credit this with saving his life,” she said of the tourniquet, noting she will be learning how to use a tourniquet and plans to have one in her vehicle. “There were so many miraculous moments that night, whether you believe in God or not: how close we were to the trauma center, the EMT and the State Trooper.”

The night of the accident there were no flares in their car, she said. That’s something she will always have going forward, she said.

“If we had flares it wouldn’t have happened,” Kathleen said, adding if possible and people are healthy enough, they should donate blood twice a year.

From the onset, neighbors and members of the community have asked what they can do to help, she said.

“We’re not prideful people. I thought ‘we’re OK; we don’t need this’ when the idea for a fundraiser was first brought to her attention, Kathleen said. “We have to put our pride aside. We tend to want to give, give, give and not receive. But people want to give back for all he’s done.”

A benefit will be held Nov. 17 at the Manahawkin Elks lodge in Manahawkin. Tickets are $50. A Go Fund Me page was set up to help ease some of the financial burden that is ahead for the family. It’s raised $41,501 since Oct. 16.

Workers at the trauma center have even asked how to get tickets to the benefit, Kathleen said.

“They keep asking me if they can get me anything,” she said, “and I tell them, you already have. My husband is alive.”

For the first two weeks of Scott’s hospitalization, Taylor, the oldest Barr child, spent the night sleeping on a cot in his father’s hospital room. A friend of Scott’s has kept a nearby hotel room open for Kathleen so she’s only seven minutes from the hospital, instead of more than a half hour.

“There are good days and there are bad days,” Kathleen said. “But overall, the message is that we’re making forward progress.”

— Gina G. Scala

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