Four locals at marathon tell their stories from tragedy

04/15/2013 10:36 PM |

AP PHOTO/CHARLES KRUPA | Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday.

Five North Fork area residents were listed as participants in today’s Boston Marathon, where Boston police say two explosions near the finish line killed at least three people and injured dozens more Monday afternoon.

According to the Boston Marathon’s online listings, Susan Herlyn of Riverhead, Robert Kujawski of Cutchogue, Jeffrey Votteler and Andrew and Amie Balistreri, all of Manorville, were entered in the race.

Mr. Kujawski, who works in IT for a Riverhead produce company, said he witnessed the explosion from his hotel room and never did get to run in the race. He told his story on Facebook Monday night.

“My daughter and I are fine,” he wrote to friends. “We were watching the finishers from our hotel room, which was about 100 yards away, when the explosion at the finish line occurred. In a state of disbelief at that point, the second bomb went off up the street. It was then we just grabbed our stuff and exited the hotel and got on what ended up being the final train allowed out of the city. Please pray for those affected by this horrible event.”

The two blasts occurred near the finish line nearly simultaneously about 100 yards apart, dismembering spectators, knocking runners to the ground and shattering windows, according to an Associated Press report.

Marathon officials described the cause of the explosions as “two bombs.”

According to public race results, Mr. and Ms. Balistreri both finished the race, with Mr. Balistreri passing the finish line about 10 minutes before the explosions occurred.

“We are good and safe,” Mr. Balistreri said in a message to the paper Monday night. “We finished the race and all is as good as possible under the circumstances.”

Ms. Herlyn had just passed the 40K mark about 2:40 p.m., about five minutes before the explosion occurred, according to the results. She was unable to finish the race, the records show.

Mr. Votteler finished the race at 1:08 p.m., about two hours before the explosions occurred. He and his family are all safe, he said.

About an hour after the explosion, Mr. Votteler said he was moving away from the site of the bombing.

“I never actually was at the scene,” he told the News-Review. “However I did watch the live finish line cam about 30 minutes after and it was a mess… just paper and wreckage everywhere.”

“It’s still an active scene; tons of people displaced from hotels,” he added.

Mr. Votteler was safely on an Amtrak train with his family when he was interviewed.

He’s due back on Long Island tomorrow, he said.

psquire@timesreview.com