MX worker is expected to recover fully, not fast

Accident 'was no fault of anybody's,' says brother

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



A Vancouver man critically injured while working Saturday morning at Washougal MX Park is recovering at OHSU Hospital in Portland. Bruce Barnes was struck by a motorcycle that went off the track during the Washougal MX National event.

“He’s expected to make a full recovery, but not a fast recovery,” said his older brother, Brian Barnes.

Riders on the track were practicing when a professional rider from Australia lost control of his bike, said Brian Barnes, who served as announcer and spokesman at the event. The rider fell off the bike, which went through the safety zone and struck Bruce Barnes.

The 49-year-old was treated by paramedics and taken by ambulance to a predetermined evacuation point, where he was transported by a Life Flight helicopter to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. He was later transported to OHSU’s intensive care unit.

He suffered five fractured ribs, a broken wrist, broken arm, broken pelvis and broken back, along with internal bleeding, and had to have his spleen removed, Brian Barnes said. He added that his brother is “built like a freight train” and is expected to fully recover.

Brian and Bruce Barnes are the sons of Clark County Commissioner Ed Barnes. Washougal Mayor Sean Guard got the Camas Police Department to notify Ed Barnes, who was attending the Camas Days festival at the time of the incident. The family has been involved in motocross since the 1970s. Bruce Barnes was a professional rider until he broke his neck a couple of years ago, his brother said.

“He volunteers and helps a lot of different tracks around the northwest,” he said.

The Washougal MX event, which brought thousands of people to the stands, is one of 12 events in a national series. Although motor sports have an inherent risk, Brian Barnes said, he could recall only two serious injuries that occurred at the Washougal track during the decade he’s worked there. There is a buffer zone and fence around the entire track.

“It was no fault of anybody’s that this happened,” he said. The Australian rider who lost control of his vehicle changed his flight schedule so he could visit Bruce Barnes in the hospital on Sunday.