Friday, August 03, 2007

Catastrophe comes home

That red car belongs to my former co-worker, Garrett Ebling.

He is one of the scores of people injured in the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis on Wednesday. He lived, but he's critically injured and will undergo surgery on Friday at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

I know the moment when we found out. I sit right next to our managing editor's office. She was on the phone and I heard her let out a loud gasp. This isn't unusual; she's a very exuberant person who laughs loudly, too. But each time I hear a noise like that, I hope everything's OK.

This time it wasn't. Ten minutes later, she was explaining this to our sports editor, who sits right across from me. I didn't pretend to hide my concern and afterwards, I immediately set to e-mailing former colleagues to tell them the news.

Garrett worked with us in various capacities on the newsside. After his final assignment here, as editor of one of our weeklies, he took a job back in his native Minnesota. He was out in the country, I believe, but he got considerably closer to his beloved Twins and Vikings.

We're still not sure why he was on the bridge when he was - we can only guess he was headed to see the Twins - but it's a miracle that he lived. Hell, when you think about it, it's a miracle that so many people survived.

That picture is haunting in some ways, affirming in others.

It's haunting to know that that car carried someone I call a friend. It's haunting to see it framed by such unwieldy, twisted metal. It's haunting to know that someone I know is at the center of the biggest story in the country.

But it's life affirming too: That car is on the precipice of disaster. A few more feet forward, and the car's completely underwater and maybe he becomes one of the casualties. I can't help but think were it not for the hand of God, I'd be a lot more sad than I am right now.

Get well, Garrett. We're all pulling for you.


Corey said...


I was Garrett's sports editor at the Faribault (Minn.) Daily News.

When we got word that he'd been on the bridge, we also found out that he'd gotten engaged Sunday.

We ran a story about Garrett in our Friday edition. If you can't access it from our home page, e-mail me at and I'll send it to you.

Brian said...

Corey, thank you so very much for that.

We're scrapping for any kind of info we can get.

My e-mail's on its way to you.

Ron Agnir said...


I worked with Garett when he was one of the Copy Editors at the Journal Newspaper in Martinsburg, WV back in '99-'00. We are scrapping for any and all updates on Garrett. He is a regular fantasy football junkie and we miss him back in W.Va.


Brian said...

Ron, send me an e-mail ( and I will pass along what we have.

Garrett said...

Brian... I just came across your blog (I googled myself out of sheer conceit ;) and want to thank you for your thoughts and well wishes.

Indeed, I have a long road ahead and even more surgery, but when all is said and done, doctors believe I can be pretty close to where I was before the accident. The fact that I survived is amazing; the fact that I still have my brain and spine intact nothing short of a miracle. I saw a photo of my car after it was pulled onto land. The front end is pretty much gone. For more updates, please check my webpage on the Caring Bridge website. I've received an incredible amount of support and it is always appreciated. Take care. Your friend, Garrett.