Boston experience proves 'overwhelming'
Updated 11:02 am, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The bombings Monday in Boston had their impact on a number of Greater New Milford area residents.
Sherman residents Douglas and Teresa Lee's third run together in the Boston Marathon brought hours of uncertainty and fear for each other's safety.
Teresa Lee was stopped with hundreds of other runners just a half-mile from the finish line Monday after two bombs had exploded on Boylston Street, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
Her husband had already finished the race, and Teresa's anxiety rose as news came in spurts about the blasts.
"There was a lot of confusion," she recalled. "Then a lot of emergency vehicles went rushing by. Phone service was down."
"I couldn't reach Doug," she recalled. "Everyone around me was staying calm, but it went on for a couple of hours of not knowing."
She recounted how two members of the marathon staff arrived during that time with communication devices and explanations. Residents who lived nearby offered the runners drinks and blankets.
The temperature was dropping and the runners, wearing shorts, were shivering, Teresa Lee said.
For Douglas Lee, who was close enough to hear the explosions, the dust and smoke plume that rose in the sky and chorus of sirens carried the message "things were not good."
"I was concerned about my wife because she usually finished the run at that time," said Lee, who had run the marathon seven times and was waiting Monday in the supply bus area for Teresa.
"I was calm as I watched medical staff pushing wheelchairs toward the blast area," he explained. "They were trying to evacuate the street, but I wasn't going anywhere without Teresa."
After about three hours, the couple was reunited. Teresa walked for an hour to get to the bus location after marathon staff called Douglas for her.
"Three hours after the explosions," Douglas Lee recalled, "we passed what had to be 40 ambulances lined up waiting to get into the blast area."
John Richer of Bridgewater, also finished the race an hour before the explosion. It was his third time running in the Boston Marathon, but the first in 20 years.
"My sister surprised me at the finish line, and we walked and visited," Richer said. "Then we got on the T and went one stop to the Heinz Convention Center on Boylston Street, right about where the finish line was."
"They made an announcement for everyone to get off of the T," he recounted. "Then an announcement came that they were evacuating the station. I assumed there was a bomb threat."
"When we got to street level," Richer added, "people were everywhere, police vehicles were racing by and ambulances with sirens blaring raced past us."
"I had just gotten back to my motel, about an hour away," he said, when texts started arriving on his phone: Everything OK? You all right?
"It was overwhelming," he admitted.