CRASH DEADLY I-70 FIERY: Homeless man helped by FOX31 viewers gets an apartment

ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) – Homeless man who rushed to help people in a fiery and fatal crash on Interstate 70 in 2019, lives in subsidized housing but continues to beg to make ends meet .

“Right before COVID hit, I got the apartment,” Darin Shawn Barton said. “I was going to retire from Denver West and not go out there and beg… I don’t want the public to think I’m here… just to get money for anything.” This is not the case.”

Barton, 47, was begging near Denver West Colorado Mills Parkway in Lakewood in April 2019 when a semi-truck crashed into several other vehicles, causing a chain accident.

Barton has helped some drivers find their way to safety.

“I have mental crises since the accident. PTSD gets a little crazy when there is thunder or lightning, fireworks, loud noises, ”he said.

After the fatal crash of the I-70

Barton received a wave of support – including thousands of dollars in gift cards and a motorized scooter – from FOX31 viewers after appearing in a report following the massive crash.

“I didn’t do anything to justify all of this,” said Barton, who used some of the charge cards to pay off outside and local court debts and traffic fines in a bid to reinstate his driver’s license.

“I just want to thank everyone who sent gift cards. All the generosity and kind words… I am very touched. Very grateful, ”he said. “I’m coming – I really wish everyone a very blessed day.”

Barton said he shared many financial gifts with others.

“I met this family who needed gas to go to the doctor,” he said. “Well, when I got my scooter, they gave me, like, $ 300 in gas cards for Shell, so I just gave them. Because they had five children. They had to take their children to school. Some of them had to go to the doctor and do other errands that day.

Barton said he uses food cards a lot, but feels out of place using other gift cards – including one for a ‘big fancy’ shoe store, he said. declared.

“I walked through the door and just turned around. ‘I can’t go in there. I buy my shoes at Walmart, ”he said. “I just felt that the money was not mine. He belonged to other homeless people who struggle like me over the years. “

Lee Lusk, a member of the First Baptist Church in Golden, helped Barton manage the influx of financial donations. “The station handed me the gift cards and I gradually handed them over to them,” he said, hoping to encourage Barton to spend the money wisely.

“I thought he should have used more for himself,” Lusk said.

How Barton Adapts to Life Indoors

Barton said he is still getting used to an indoor lifestyle.

“It’s a lot less stressful… I don’t have to worry about my things being stolen by someone or thrown away by the police. I don’t have to worry about hiding my tent, hiding my sleeping bag and tarps – you know – in the bushes, where people can’t find them, ”he said. “It’s great to have access to a bathroom 24/7, 365 days a year.

“Now he’s so much better because he has a place to come home,” Lusk said.

Barton said the transition to housing has not been without challenges.

” It’s very difficult. From living outside without any rules at all until now, I have neighbors. I can’t listen to my music loudly at night anymore… like I did before, ”he said. “I’m a night person more than a day person, and I’m here with my PTSD. I wake up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, and I can’t go back to sleep for hours. I’m here pacing… it keeps my neighbors from sleeping at night.

What Barton hopes to accomplish with a little help

Barton said he was also suffering from physical injuries unrelated to the incident – including bad knees and shoulders – which prevent him from doing constant physical labor.

He is hoping to have surgery soon after saying his planned operations have been delayed due to the pandemic.

“I think he has disabilities that are holding him back there,” Lusk said. “He’s undergoing knee replacement and shoulder surgery, which will hopefully help him put himself in a position where he can have a permanent job, at least part-time.

“Mentally it’s very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do the things I used to do,” Barton said.

Barton had relied on some government disability benefits for his financial stability, but had a few extended periods in which he says he was not receiving the benefits.

“It made it very difficult because I depended on this money to pay my rent for six months,” he said. “I was late for my rent. I had to go out and beg for the rent money, even though (the rent) is only $ 25.

Barton has said he would like more help and support for his mental health issues, and he wants the bus system to run more often and more regularly on time.

However, he said having housing has been a “blessing”.

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