Survivor stories: Liz Wunderlich, as told by her father

Percy Wunderlich, father of Liz, describes what his daughter went through the day the bridge collapsed.

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.

Liz Wunderlich (as shared by her father, Percy)

Where was she?

Liz survived a five-story fall from the center portion of the bridge, but died four years later. On Aug. 1, 2007 at 6 p.m., She was in an SUV with her friend, Suzanne Blundell, returning from IKEA after buying furniture for Liz’s new apartment.

How did it impact her?

Her father Percy says, "She had just finished school to be a beautician. That Friday, she was supposed to go to job orientation. She was never able to work full-time after that. She was always in pain, but she hated the pity party. Most people didn’t even know she had been on the bridge. Even boyfriends, she wouldn’t tell for months afterward that she had been on the bridge.”

"She had three compressed vertebrae. She was physically shorter because of the compressed vertebrae. She was in constant pain every day for the rest of her life."

"Liz was a beautiful young lady, inside and out. She stood up when wrongs were being committed. Took care of her brother who has some special needs. The bridge collapse changed her life so dramatically. She was on medication and I believe self-medicating, as well. In May 2011, she went out and had a couple drinks. And I believe that, with the combination of the new medication, she just didn’t wake up. Without a doubt, she would be alive today if she wasn’t on that bridge.”

© 2017 KARE-TV


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