Divers pull I-35 bridge's 12th victim from river

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 20, 2007 - 8:56 AM

Only one other person remains unaccounted for in the Aug. 1 collapse. MnDOT expects I-94 and Hwy. 280 to be reopened for today's morning rush.

Scott Sathers' body was recovered Sunday morning from the scene of the Aug. 1 Interstate 35W bridge collapse, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office reported.

The recovery of Sathers' remains and the removal of a vehicle took place about 8:30 a.m. from the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis, the County Sheriff's Office said.

Sathers, 29, of Blaine, worked at Capella University in Minneapolis as an enrollment director. His family has described him as an "amazing husband, son, brother and friend to many." In a statement released soon after the accident, they said he was an avid auto racing fan and golfer. They could not be reached for comment Sunday.

According to the family statement, on the day of the collapse Sathers left his job in downtown Minneapolis 40 minutes later than usual. He was on his way home when, at Washington Avenue and I-35W, he called his wife about 5:50 p.m. That was the last anyone heard from him.

His wife had planned a surprise birthday party for him Aug. 3 at the Twins game, the statement said. His birthday was Aug. 4.

Sathers grew up in Plymouth, graduated from Wayzata High School in 1995 and attended St. Olaf College. He played hockey and golf at both schools.

Defense Department spokesman Randy Mitchell said Sunday's debris removal was put on hold from 3 to 5 p.m. because of heavy rain. Lightning postponed work for about an hour early Saturday morning.

Two teams of eight Navy divers helped in the effort, which is slated to continue 24 hours a day pending unforeseen challenges, Mitchell said.

Chunks of concrete bridge debris were removed Sunday, he said, adding that he was not aware of other vehicles being recovered.

In all, 12 victims have been recovered from the river. The last person missing and presumed dead is Greg Jolstad, 45, a road construction worker from Mora, Minn.

I-94 to reopen today

Authorities closed a three-mile stretch of Interstate 94 over the weekend as they expanded it to accommodate traffic detoured around the bridge collapse. Despite steady rain this weekend, I-94 was expected to reopen in time for this morning's rush hour, said Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kent Barnard.

That plan was subject to change, however, based on the weather, he said.

I-94 was closed between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 280 so it could be converted from a six-lane freeway to a temporary eight-lane freeway. Portions of Hwy. 280 were reduced to one lane in both directions over the weekend but the highway is expected to return to regular operation by 5 a.m. today.

Chao Xiong • 612-673-4391

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