Bridge Survivor Recalls Collapse, Remembers The Dead

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four years ago on Aug. 1, 2007, Julie Graves was on a school bus with 52 children, who were returning from a field trip, when the I-35W bridge gave out from under them.

Graves feels lucky that she is alive to tell her story, and that all the children on the bus also survived.

“I remember free-falling three times and hitting whatever was left of the bridge,” Graves said.

Graves remembers the moment the bridge collapsed as if it happened just yesterday. She was the youth program manager at the Waite House Community Center in Minneapolis; and she, along with the other supervisors, was heading home from a field trip at Bunker Beach with more than four dozen kids on board the bus.

Graves said that when the bridge gave out, she flipped over the front seat and got stuck in the bus stairwell.

“I was trapped there for a bit and I kicked my way out,” Graves said.
The collapse killed no one on the bus, but Graves was left with a broken back, a shattered ankle and emotional scars that will last a lifetime.

She got her first look at the 35W Remembrance Garden Monday afternoon, and the moment was important to her. More than anything, Graves said she wants the memory of those who didn’t make it to live on.

“For me, every day I wake up, I am thankful that I made it off the bridge that day,” Graves said. “And I think about the people out there and the families that lost a loved one.”

More from John Lauritsen
  • easyrider

    Let us pray something like this never happens again.

  • angel

    i remenber that day my husband drove over the bridge two time. that last time he was coming back to his shop.he just got off the bridge befor it fall. my heart fall to the floor and seeing what could of happen that day, my heart and prays go out to those whom lost there love ones.

  • colin asher

    I myself to went accross that bridge that day or moment it went down, i was going to an account with a coworker, i was working for a maint. company, when we got to the other side in minneapolis, he got a call from his girlfriend not even two minutes after it went down, he told me what had happened, i was in shock for a moment, i looked away then looked up, and said thankyou, i give you praise, then we herd sirens going , we were on the other side of the bridge goin to an account, a goodyear tire service, anyways, when we were done we headed back, but had to use a different route going back home to st.paul and roseville, we went accross the lake st. bridge and we could clearly see what had happened, he spared us for some reason, thankyou, my heart goes out to the ones that did’nt make it and there family,amen.

  • Video: Survivor Recalls Bridge Collapse « CBS Minnesota

    […] what she had to say about her experience here. Share this No comments […]

  • Big Smart Jerk

    Let us pray something like this never happens again.

    Prayer is the answer? Funny, I thought adherence to proper engineering principles was the answer.

    • Just Saying

      There is more then one thing that can be done to try and prevent something like this from happening again. And prayer can definitely be one of them. I suggest you try being a little more sensitive to others and understanding that we are not all the same in our beliefs.

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