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  1. My name is: Richard L Swinney
    Address: 13129 Stoney Ridge Lane SW
    Port Orchard, WA 98367
    Phone: (253) 857-3123 or (253) 227-3855

    On the day Galloping Gertie fell I was home with my mother, Hazel Swinney. My father E.K. (Keith) Swinney drove a bread truck for Golden Rule Bakery in Tacoma to the Gig Harbor area. The Bridge was very active that day so my father came by our home in Tacoma to get my mother to see it in action. I was 5 years old at the time so I went along.

    As we were crossing the Bridge my mother was screaming because of the action. Under normal conditions you could not see the water because of the high metal sides. I remember seeing the water on one side and then the other because of the twisting of the Bridge. There were pieces of concrete flying up everywhere. There was a workman trying to get off the Bridge – we could see him, then he would be out of sight, then he would be back up again because of the undulating motion of the Bridge.

    My father got to his first stop on the Gig Harbor side and was told the Bridge went down.
    We were told we were the last vehicle to go across from the Tacoma side before it fell. My parents have passed on so I’m sure I’m one of the last to go across.

    Our story is in the “An Excellent Little Bay” book at the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society.

    Richard Swinney
    Port Orchard

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