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Hit-and-run victim may return to US soon
Woman suffered brain injury in Italy
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A Gainesville woman seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in Italy may return soon to the U.S., as a judge has signed off to allow her to leave the country.

Her sister-in-law, Haley Sullins, who lives in West Hall, said the hitch has been finding a commercial flight with a cluster of seats. A doctor has agreed to accompany Julie Bryan on the way home.

Upon her return, Bryan will go first to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville for evaluation.

“We have to get the insurance and that kind of stuff still in place because I couldn’t do any of that here,” said her mother, Lisa Sullins, who flew to Italy after the March 7 accident and has stayed with her daughter since.

Bryan, a graduate of Chestatee High School, had just spent the evening in Rome celebrating with friends her acceptance to graduate school at Boston College.

As she stepped off a street curb into a pedestrian crossing, she was struck down by a speeding car. The driver kept going, leaving Bryan’s injured body in the street.

Bryan suffered broken bones and bruises, but her main health problem was a traumatic brain injury.

At the time of her accident, she had taken a year off to travel before going back to school.

She graduated in December 2008 from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and was planning to pursue her master’s degree in mental health counseling this fall.

Arranging for Bryan to leave the hospital and enter a rehabilitation center has involved numerous phone calls on the part of her family.

“I can’t get her into a rehab center in the U.S. until there is Medicaid in place, and I can’t get Medicaid in place until we get home,” Sullins said in an early June interview.

Her son, Brandon, a Hall County Fire Services paramedic, was instrumental in helping make arrangements at home, she said in an interview last week.

“Nobody in the government got it done,” Sullins said. “He got it done. He spoke with the caseworkers, he has found doctors, he put me in touch with the neurosurgeon who has agreed to see Julie.”

Dr. Nabil Muhanna of The Longstreet Clinic's Department of Neurosurgery in Gainesville said he knows members of Bryan’s family.

“They asked me if I would continue to take care of her (when she returned), and I told them I would do everything I can to help them,” he said.

Family members, meanwhile, are trying to raise money to help with expenses. The cost of flying her home could cost about $18,000, Sullins has said.

A raffle is set for July 31 during a fundraising event at Fitness Forum on Thompson Bridge Road, Haley Sullins said.

The event will feature a band, games for children and hamburgers and hot dogs for sale.