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Continued: 4 dead, 79 injured, 20 missing after dozens of vehicles plummet into river

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 2, 2007 - 8:24 AM

"I thought I was dead," he said. "Honestly, I honestly did. I thought it was over."

Ramon Houge of St. Paul was on his way home from work and was on the bridge when he heard a rumbling noise and cars in front of him began to go down.

He said cars that could backed up, turned around and drove toward safety.

Baseball game added to congestion

Danz said there were cars behind him on W. River Parkway, but he didn't think any of them were under the bridge when it fell.

John Joachim of Taylors Falls, Minn., took I-35W to the Twins game and said traffic suddenly "slammed to a stop" as he neared University Avenue.

"I didn't know what was going on but a huge cloud of dust rose in front of us," he said.

After the game, traffic were being rerouted away from the collapse, routes that also were being used by theater patrons leaving the Guthrie.

This afternoon's Twins game has been postponed, along with scheduled groundbreaking ceremonies for the new baseball park that had been scheduled for this evening.

'Five feet from the edge'

Louis Rogers, 28, of Roseville was driving home from work listening to music in his Chevy Blazer when the bridge gave way just feet in front of him.

"It just disappeared; it made no sound whatsoever," he said. "It was pretty much like a thud, not too loud of a thud. The next thing I know, cars were dropping and there was smoke. My car was no more than five feet from the edge."

Rogers tried to help some of the people in cars that had fallen into the river and stopped on the bridge.

"I saw a lady in a car and I screamed, but I got no response," he said. "I grabbed my bag and started signaling cars to get out of there."

Ryan Murphey, 30, of Minneapolis, went to the scene to see if he could help out.

"It looked like a terrorist attack, a complete catastrophe," Murphey said. "But everyone there was very calm and organized."

He helped remove two victims from the east side of the bridge on stretchers, including a woman in her late 50s with a "bloody face."

The Twins decided to play Wednesday night's game, but only after the public address announcer alerted the crowd at 7:08 p.m. of the bridge's collapse. A moment of prayer followed. It was then announced that the game would go on so emergency crews could perform their duties without the added pressure of having 20,000 to 25,000 people scrambling in swarms from the Dome area.

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  • A rescue worker enters a car in the water to search for a victim after the collapse.

  • Melissa Hughes clinched a child near the scene of the I-35W bridge collapse; Melissa was driving the red car in the background of photo.

  • Rescue workers prepared to search a submerged vehicle in the Mississippi River that had been on the Interstate 35W bridge when it collapsed just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

  • The wreckage on the west end of the bridge.

  • Looking north at construction of the Interstate Hwy 35W bridge, July 1967.

  • A rescue worker enters a car in the water to search for a victim after the collapse.

  • Melissa Hughes clinched a child near the scene of the I-35W bridge collapse; Melissa was driving the red car in the background of photo.

  • Rescue workers prepared to search a submerged vehicle in the Mississippi River that had been on the Interstate 35W bridge when it collapsed just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

  • The wreckage on the west end of the bridge.

  • Looking north at construction of the Interstate Hwy 35W bridge, July 1967.

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