Safety

School bus driver reflects on I-35 bridge collapse 3 years later

Posted on August 2, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS — Kim Dahl was driving a school bus across the I-35W bridge when it collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 122.

People across the country saw images of the bus teetering on the edge of the broken bridge, CNN reports. Eight adults and 52 children were on board, including Dahl's son and daughter. All were safely evacuated, including Dahl, who broke her back during the bridge's fall.

With the parking brake on, Dahl kept the bus in place while everyone on board evacuated through the rear emergency door, CNN reports. Her daughter Arrianna, 10 at the time, and her then-5-year-old brother David, were the last ones and had refused to get off with the others, but Dahl eventually got them to evacuate.

Dahl says she managed to break free herself after a jolt on the bridge seemed to release her seatbelt, which had been stuck, according to CNN.

Today, the family has had to learn to function differently to accommodate Dahl's injuries. She has been through several surgeries and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, for which she attends therapy. Arrianna also sought therapy after the accident.

Dahl is among 122 victims and their families who've filed suit against URS Corp., an engineering and construction firm hired by Minnesota Department of Transportation to conduct engineering analysis on the bridge before it collapsed, according to CNN.

A new bridge has been constructed adjacent to the old one. The site of the collapsed bridge has been left intact since the accident, as it is being held as evidence in the suit.

 

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