Off-duty Billerica paramedic suffers critical leg injury after being pinned by car

BILLERICA, Mass. — A Billerica paramedic who helps people when responding to emergencies each day became the victim of an accident himself last Sunday when he was struck by a car.

After finishing his overnight shift and heading home, Brian McSweeney, 35, stopped at Starbucks in Chelmsford, where he was hit by a car and pinned to the building.

McSweeney suffered a critical leg injury and was losing a lot of blood. He was rushed to Lahey Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, Kara Oliinyk, a lifelong friend of McSweeney’s fiancée Meghan Gaffney, told Boston 25 News.

“His right leg was severely impacted. I know that they had to perform a bypass in order to save that leg,” Oliinyk said. “[Meghan] was really scared. And we knew this wasn’t going to be a quick recovery. This was going to be – he’s in for a long haul.”

McSweeney remains in the hospital. A fitness enthusiast, he is strong and determined to get back on his feet. But just what long-term effects he’ll be left with are still unknown.

“He’s awesome. He’s just the helper. Anytime you need something he’s there,” Oliinyk said. “We don’t know the extent of what is going to happen to his health. So, we didn’t want him to face the burden of medical bills or whatever it may be.”

Oliinyk helped launch a GoFundMe account to cover McSweeney’s medical expenses.

“I think [Brian and Meghan] are just so comfortable doing things on their own. They’re not used to asking for help, just because they are the helpers, they are the givers,” Oliinyk said of the couple. “It’s such a tragedy that it had to happen, but they’re so strong, and the emotional support they’re receiving from so many people right now, it’s pushing them through.”

The 40-year-old woman driving the car will receive a summons to court on a charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, Chelmsford police told Boston 25 News. She was also ticketed for parking unlawfully in a handicap space.

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