Survivor stories: Mercedes Gordon Rudh

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.

RELATED: 35 W bridge collapse survivor stories and other coverage

RELATED: 10 years later: Survivors reflect on the I-35 W bridge collapse

Mercedes Gordon Rudh

Where were you when the bridge collapsed?

Trapped in her car under the collapsed bridge, Mercedes Gorden didn’t know if she would survive. Steel beams and loose concrete still loomed above, and her dashboard had pinned Mercedes into her car.

A college student rushed to Mercedes – before first responders arrived – held her hand and gave her a cell phone. Mercedes then called her fiancé, Jake Rudh, in what she thought could be her last conversation with him. She thought she was saying goodbye.
 

How did it affect you?

A college student rushed to Mercedes – before first responders arrived – held her hand and gave her a cell phone. Mercedes then called her fiancé, Jake Rudh, in what she thought could be her last conversation with him. She thought she was saying goodbye.

Jackson Millikan was the first firefighter to reach Mercedes. He helped oversee the effort – that involved using the “Jaws of Life” – to free Mercedes from her car. And then Mercedes’ journey truly began. She underwent 11 surgeries and lived in the hospital for nearly two months following the collapse. Jake slept on a cot in her room the entire time.
 

Where are you now?

Not only did Mercedes and Jake not say goodbye on August 1, 2007, they ended up marrying and today have a 2-year-old daughter. Liv Millikan Rudh was named, the family says, after the firefighter who saved her mother’s life, Jackson Millikan.

© 2017 KARE-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment