SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A St. Francis High School graduate and her husband were among those injured at the Boston Marathon, following Monday’s chaos.
The family of Jessica Kensky Downes left for Boston to be by her side as she recovers in the hospital. She and her husband, Patrick, were spectators at Monday’s race and both were seriously hurt in the blast.
As explosions detonated, screams rang out and smoke filled the air, Jessica and Patrick were caught in the middle of it all.
“They had to be right in the heart of it for both of them to be affected,” neighbor Janet Mooney said.
Neighbors say the couple was standing near the finish line where the first bomb exploded — seriously injuring them both.
“It’s just a very sad, very sad thing,” said Mooney.
Neighbors say the two got separated in the chaos, but were both rescued by crews and are now recovering at two different Boston-area hospitals.
“It brings it close to home. You see it, you hear about it, but it’s still distant; and now it’s like it is right here in our backyard,” neighbor Jody Myers said.
Neighbors tell CBS13 that Jessica and Patrick recently got married. She was following in her father’s footsteps, working as a registered nurse in Boston. Her father is a well-known radiologist in the Sacramento area.
“Absolutely adorable, bubbly personality,” said Myers.
A woman trained to help others who are hurt or sick is now finding herself needing care from doctors and nurses as she recovers in the hospital.
“He’s very much in our thoughts and our prayers,” said Mooney.
Neighbors tell CBS13 it will be a traumatic recovery for the couple. They did not know specifics on how bad Jessica’s injuries are, but say Patrick lost his leg.
Jessica is a 1999 graduate of St. Francis High School.
Several other local runners escaped uninjured and were able to return home Tuesday.
“We’re happy to be home. We’re hungry. We’re tired,” said Michelle La Sala.
La Sala and her fiancé Kevin had already finished the race and were back in their hotel room when the bombs went off. But the images they saw from their hotel window were frightening.
“We saw the smoke, we saw people running,” said La Sala.
“People were chaotic because they didn’t know where else there might be a bomb,” said Sharon Hampton.
Hampton, 71, also returned home to her husband Tuesday. She was a block away from finishing the marathon when the explosions detonated.
Police officers stopped her and several others, not allowing them to finish.
“You’ll have to stop, the race is over” police told Hampton.
But Hampton knew her daughter was near the finish line waiting for her.
“That was really scary. I will tell you that I cried cause I didn’t know if she was at the hospital cause I knew she was right there,” said Hampton.
She says it took an hour and a half to reunite with her daughter in the aftermath.
“She was directly across from the first bomb, but across the street. So luckily, it didn’t hurt her,” said Hampton.
La Sala says she eventually found out all of her friends at the race were also safe. Both women are thankful to finally be home and thankful they were some of the lucky ones.
“It’s just so sad; it’s awful,” she said.
Both women say what happened won’t stop them from running races in the future, even the Boston Marathon.
For Bill Clements, it was his first time running the Boston Marathon — something he always dreamed of experiencing. He even documented the experience with his own camera.
“People had a lot of questions. There was a lot of speculation as to what was happening,” said Clements. “People were mad, people — most of all — worried about the people who had got hurt.”
Clements and his friend Dennis Mui, who also ran Monday, say that after the bombs went off the city went into lockdown.
“Everyone was on the train getting news updates,” said Mui.
The two friends had crossed the finish line about an hour before the deadly blast.
“A friend texted me and said ‘are you OK?’ said Clements.
Between answering phone calls and text messages from loved ones, they frantically began contacting friends who might still have been at the race.
“One person was at a pub three blocks away; another person was at a hotel room,” said Clements.
They were impressed by how first responders jumped into action.
“All the volunteers, all the police, law enforcement, on instinct went to help all the victims,” said Mui.
It’s still hard for the Clements and Mui to grasp what might have been, but they’ll be back next year. This attack won’t make them run away from the sport they love.
“It’s just like 9/11,” said Mui. “It didn’t stop America. We weren’t scared; we just kept going on with our lives.”
Many of Mui and Clements say many of their friends wore their running shirts to show support for the victims.