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Neighbors, students in disbelief after Florida bridge collapse

Posted: 7:21 AM, Mar 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-19 09:23:59-04

Today would be a normal drive to work for Amelia Caceres — except her house is surrounded by police tape. 

Adrian Perez helped her get out, both still in shock after hearing the brand new bridge outside their home collapsed.

"We were some of the first people on the front,” Caceres said. “And we saw the cars crushed underneath it was really horrifying, so it was really scary.”

“My mind just does not captivate that that happened,” Perez said.

Caceres and Perez saw the scene unfold, in disbelief. 

“It’s kind of like surreal,” Perez said. “Like it was a movie. There was a woman — I guess that she was trapped in the car like under the car .. she was crying hysterically. It was just really strange.”

What made it even more strange for these two is that they had just watched the bridge go up days before.

“It was just up. It was done,” Caceras said. “And it seemed almost like it was amazing that they had done it so quickly.”

The bridge was designed to provide a safe way for students at Florida International University, like Perez, to cross a busy highway.

"I was really excited about this bridge because I was like finally I won’t have to go through the death trap that is eighth street crossing," Perez said. "Now, that’s kind of ironic."

Carlos Devarona lives less than a mile away, and travels the street every day.

“You have a blind faith in construction,” Devarona said. “You never think something like this is going to happen.”

Watching the scene left him with even more questions, specifically why officials chose to perform a stress test in the moments before the collapse. 

“Not above live traffic  — you don’t do that,” Devarona said. “It just should never happen.”

As investigators work to answer the many questions surrounding the collapse, Perez and Caceras, like so many others, wait for answers.

“I’m sure that they did what was needed to get done,” Perez said. “I don’t think anyone would do something like this purposefully. Or negligently. I guess we will see.”