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Bridge Collapse Victims Hope Memorial Will Bring Closure

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four years ago, the Interstate 35W Bridge was something we all drove over. But now, it’s something we all remember. On Aug. 1, 2007, the unimaginable happened. The bridge fell into the river killing 13 people, injuring 145 and changing the Twin Cities forever.

On the eve of the 4th anniversary of the I-35W Bridge collapse, Andrew Hausmann is getting ready to go to Harvard. He graduated from Rosemount High School this past spring with honors. In a few weeks he will be off to the Ivy League, a goal that lived on even after his father Peter Hasumann wasn’t there to help him reach it.

“He did so much that we had to adjust because he was gone, we didn’t know what we were doing. We were swimming out there. We were barely above water,” Andrew said.

Peter Hausmann made it to shore after the I-35W Bridge collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007, but then went back into the river to try and help a mother save her kids. He never made it back to shore.

His father’s memory has inspired Andrew to find success in everything. Last fall, he led Rosemount’s football team to the Prep Bowl. For Andrew, tomorrow is another step closer to closure.

“Seeing the memorial and seeing that the community still remembers and cares really helps me. He’s a figure that I’m going to have a very difficult time living up to,” Andrew said.

Sherry Engebretsen was also a victim of the bridge that day. She left behind her husband Ron and two daughters. Ron has since remarried, but every Aug. 1, he and his daughters pay tribute to a wife and mother who will never be forgotten.

“We didn’t get a decision on what happened that day, but we had a decision on how we move forward,” said Ron. “That’s what I told my girls, is that we have to move forward. I know that’s what Sherry would wanted, and that’s what we did. You cherish those memories, you hold them close, but you move on to your new life.”

On Monday at 5:00 p.m., the City of Minneapolis will dedicate a remembrance garden to the victims of the I-35W Bridge collapse. The Remembrance Garden includes 13 pillars, each inscribed with the name of a person who died when the bridge collapsed in 2007.

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