35W bridge collapse survivor releases memoir detailing tragic day

- The 35W bridge collapse was one of the greatest tragedies in recent Minnesota history, with 13 people killed and 145 others injured.

More than a decade later, one of the survivors is telling her story about that tragic day on Aug. 1, 2007.

Recently published, Kimberly Brown’s memoir shares details of when her friend’s car plunged into the Mississippi River.

“Realizing how close I came to dying—I was actually really, really in shock for a long time and couldn’t quite believe I was still alive,” Brown said.

Brown said the book helped her heal, despite how long it took her to complete. She said there were times when re-living the horrific details of climbing out of her friend's car were just too much and that daily activities were hard to overcome due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“I felt like kind of a freak. I couldn’t park in parking ramps without panicking. I would start my workday just terrified,” she said.

That day, Brown was riding in the passenger seat of her teammate's car on the way to a soccer game. Then the bridge started to shake.

“The car landed at like a 45-degree angle. Water was pouring in. At first we thought we were sinking and that we were going to drown. We were starting to scramble and figure out what to do and how to get out of there,” she said.

She and her friend eventually got to safety.

Brown then started writing down everything happening around her. If it wasn't for those notes, the traumatic events would have become a blur.

Brown said she experienced a lot of triggers and dealt with survivor's guilt and anger over how this happened in the first place.

She said she did a lot of research on infrastructure and bridge safety and wrote extensively about it in the book, saying it's crucial for people to be aware, to prevent this type of tragedy in the future.

“I’m really hopeful with this book people can open their hearts and their minds and see what I was trying to uncover to see and understand what goes on under these bridges,” Brown said.

Brown has her first reading and signing of the book Thursday. It’s available at local book stores and online retailers.

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