MPD Officer Recalls Rescuing Woman From 35W Bridge Collapse

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the wake of the 10-year anniversary, we’ve been sifting through our own footage of the 35W bridge collapse. We’ve found some powerful images of people rushing to help.

This is one of them: An officer walking about a half mile to get a woman to an ambulance.

A decade later, we found the officer and for the first time, he watched our raw video. Officer Brian Thureson also spoke publicly in the first time in 10 years.

As the chaos erupted, the police dispatches started going out.  Officer Thureson recalls the voice he heard on his radio.

“I believe he just ‘said send any and all resources.’ I responded, I left my off-duty job and went to the bridge,” Thureson said.

The 31-year-old canine officer quickly made it to the West Bank.

“It was just so surreal, there were people who need our helped, there were vehicles on fire, the bridge was obviously destroyed so we just headed down there to find people who needed our help,” Thureson said.

And this video WCCO captured moments after the collapse shows what Officer Thureson did, identifying the person who seemed most critical and carrying her up two football fields in length to help.

Of the day he says, “I think it was truly horrific what happened and I’m sorry for the people who lost their lives and the people who were severely injured and that we think about them a lot.”

Until now, he only had his memory to go off of.  We showed him the video of his walk to the ambulance carrying a bleeding woman who tightly gripped his back.

“That’s pretty powerful,” he said. “I remember her voice and I feel bad for the trauma she must have been going through at that time.”

It’s an image you could call heroic, but he’d rather you not.

“Yeah, I’m not really into that. I think the people who are heroes are not only the people who lost their lives, but the people who were injured and had to fight to get healthy.  Those are the heroes in my mind,” Thureson said.

Officer Thureson says he doesn’t know the name of the woman he helped rescue, but he thinks of her and the other victims often, especially when he drives over that bridge.

More from Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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