MINNEAPOLIS - On Aug. 1, 2007 the heavily-used Interstate 35W bridge collapsed, sending concrete and rebar, vehicles and the people inside them plunging into the Mississippi River. Thirteen people lost their lives and 145 were injured, some of them critically.
On the 10-year anniversary of this life-changing event, KARE 11 is checking in with some of those whose lives changed forever that day. We asked each of them three questions.
Here are the answers, in their own words.
Where were you?
I was 12 years old and on the school bus. We were on a field trip at a water park. Everyone was having a blast. I was toward the back of the bus. We were playing hand games and making rhymes, and all of us having a good time. All of the sudden, we felt the ground shaking below us, and we were kind of confused because we were stopped. We started looking around, and all of the sudden, it just dropped. It’s kind of a blur from there. The younger children were screaming. I think everyone was pretty much in shock. Jeremy busted open the back door and started carrying children off the bus and off the broken concrete of the bus onto the greenway area. He basically saved us before the Tastee truck started on fire next to the school bus. He was saying, "Come on everybody, it’s OK. We can get through this. Let’s get off this bus." And he was literally carrying children off. Even if they were older children, 12 years old, he just carried them off. He was just worried about everyone else more than himself at that point. After we got off the bus, we were all sitting in the grass and the kids were screaming. They don’t understand what just happened. And we’re all just kind of looking and staring at this big bridge that had fallen with us on it.
How did it impact your life?
I had to go in an ambulance to the hospital. Of course it’s affected me in a negative way. I’ve learned to accept the darkness in order to make a change in my life. You can’t have the light without the dark. So I’m choosing to live a way of light and spread love regardless of what I’ve been through.
Where are you now?
Right now, I have a 3-year-old son. He is the love of my life. The light of my life, as well. I’m going back to school. I’m just pushing forward for a better future for me and my son. I’m pretty content about where I am in life. Much happier than I was before.