‘The marathon would never be the same’
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Scott Goldstein was in the middle of eating a greasy hamburger April 15.
It wasn’t the worst he’s ever had, or the best. But it was one he will never forget because it was the West Bloomfield resident’s last meal before the bombs exploded, causing him and his friends to evacuate a restaurant four blocks past the finish line, where three people died and about 140 were injured during the annual Boston Marathon.
“We were sitting and talking with a bunch of friends,” Goldstein said. “People started watching TV, then we saw a stream of runners walking past the window away from the finish (line). Then I got a phone call from someone who said, ‘The bombs went off,’ and, ‘There may be more.’ Then we walked away. … The city was on lockdown.”
Goldstein, an avid runner, has attended the marathon for the past eight years, and although he said he didn’t hear, feel or see the bombs go off, he felt the aftereffects just the same as the thousands of racers and attendees.
“I was sad because I knew the marathon would never be the same and shocked because the marathon is such a great day, and to have something like this happen was terrible,” he said.
Goldstein added that the police “jumped in” immediately.
“You could not go into a hotel unless you had a key (and a name to a room). There was very little congregating in public places, which was good,” he said.
Goldstein said that, immediately after the bomb went off, ambulance and emergency vehicles arrived in droves.
“First, they took care of people who were hurt,” he said. “Then they tried to find the people who did it.”
Prosecutors charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombings during a hearing April 22, one week after he allegedly detonated the pressure cooker bombs, according to a published report. He could face the death penalty if convicted. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also a suspect, reportedly died April 18.
Goldstein, who ran for 3 hours and 24 minutes during the marathon, was done at 2 p.m. Just shy of 50 minutes before the bombs went off.
“No one had really knew what had happened,” he said.
On April 16, Goldstein took a plane back to Michigan, but uneasy feelings clung to him. He couldn’t shake them.
“I left the next morning, and it was still not as if you felt fine walking the streets,” he said. “It was still tense going through the airport.”
On the other side of the country, his concerned family and friends were already bombarding his phone with texts and calls.
“I probably had 100 texts and phone calls,” he said, “and I already checked in with my family.
“I called back and texted as many people as I could and told (them) I was safe and it was scary. I feel bad because my whole experience was eating a hamburger down the street.”
Goldstein’s friend and fellow runner 58-year-old Bloomfield Hills resident Tom Artushin had a bit of a different story to tell. He, his wife and a friend were sitting on bleachers, across from where the first bomb went off, waiting for another friend to cross the finish line. Then boom.
“It was probably the scariest experience I’ve ever had, and I hope (for it) to never happen again,” Artushin, who waited for a little over an hour in the bleachers, said. “When we looked, there was such a loud boom and smoke, I thought the four-story building (across the street) exploded.”
Artushin, who has participated in the race six times, said he and his wife started to push barricades away when the second bomb went off a block and a half away.
“We thought the bleachers was going to be the third bomb,” he said.
Once freed, he and others moved farther away from the course; he described the scene as “orderly.”
“Nobody was pushing or falling, and we just got ... out of there,” he said. “If (my wife and I) did not have those access passes (to sit in the bleachers), we might have been waiting somewhere else. It is a pretty scary experience. You count your blessings.”