Those who were there: Routine jog turns to rescue effort

Tim Mueller, accounting and finance alum

Ahnalese Rushmann

Even bystanders without medical experience were able to lend a hand to the disaster scene.

Tim Mueller was going for a run near West River Parkway when the bridge came down.

Mueller, who had been listening to music on his iPod while running on the path he’d taken all summer, said he heard loud booming noises but assumed it was part of the construction that had been taking place on the bridge.

“I looked up toward the river and just saw this dust and the bridge starting to fall,” he said.

Mueller put his hands over his head and ran, he said. A large piece of concrete fell on the sidewalk where he’d just been standing, he said.

Mueller saw the school bus that had been carrying 61 children and staff members back to Minneapolis from a field trip in Coon Rapids.

The bus door opened and Mueller, along with three or four other bystanders, ran to help, he said.

Mueller said he and the others helped children over the guardrail to safety as they ran toward the side of the bridge, away from the bus. Mueller doesn’t recall how many children they helped.

Nearly an hour later, when Mueller was starting to walk home, he bumped into someone and one of his headphones fell out of his ear, he said. He realized he hadn’t turned his music off and his iPod was playing the whole time.

“I started thinking about how close it had been, the enormity of what had happened,” he said.