Iraq war vet still critical following hit and run

5:42 PM, Dec 4, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - If home is where the heart is, then Amy Byro has been home for the last 37 days.

"The staff has been joking about changing my address to his room," said Byro.

She hasn't strayed too far from her brother's side at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Her brother, 29-year old Iraq War veteran John Byro, is in critical condition after a driver crashed into him while he was riding his motorcycle.

It happened in small southern Minnesota town of Gaylord back in October. The driver took off and hasn't been heard from since.

"I don't understand how they cannot turn themselves in," she said.

But there was a bit of good news this week.

"Monday, we were told alright you're out of here Tuesday, Wednesday as soon as that bed is open, you're going," she said. "We were very excited."

Her brother was going to Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul where he would start long-term rehab. But then word came from doctors that fluid was building up in her brother's brain. He was rushed into surgery.

"And after 48 hours of not moving or opening his eyes, you start to think really, really bad things," said Byro.

This emotional roller coaster continued Saturday morning. That's when John opened his eyes and is now slowly inching his way back.

"We have small hope again," said his sister.

Hope her brother will pull through; hope the person who caused it all will come forward.

"There have been some leads but not anything solid," she said.

Her family is planning a benefit Friday, December 9 to help pay for the mounting medical costs and hopefully increase the $5,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

All the while, knowing this Marine is facing his toughest battle here at home.

"He's fighting and he's fighting really, really hard," she said.

She says the support has been tremendous. In fact, just this week a woman whose son was in a hospital room next to her brother's gave the Byro family money to help find the driver responsible.

"She said she'd praying for him and handed us a check. We gave each other hugs and planned to keep in touch. Then we looked and saw that it was for a $1000 dollars. It's just amazing," she said with tears in her eyes.

Friday's benefit is at the American Legion in Roseville. It starts at 5pm and goes until 10pm.

The family also set up an account. Donations can be sent to the following address:

Alliance Bank
c/o John Byro Benefit acct# 0002248536
20 West Main Street
Madelia MN 56062

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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