Sunday, November 19, 2017 Elyria 38°


Lorain County residents at race recount Boston Marathon horror


“Mass chaos” were the words current and former Lorain County residents used to explain the scene at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.

Dr. Bryan Canterbury was volunteering at the medical tent for the Boston Marathon when he heard two loud booms.

“There were limbs literally hanging off. I can’t even begin to explain this — the carnage,” said Canterbury, a doctor at Whidden Hospital in Everett, Ma.

Canterbury, who called from the scene in Boston, was volunteering at the medical tent, as he had done in previous years at the Boston Marathon, when he heard two “loud booms, approximately 100 yards away.”

“I heard another boom, and I knew exactly what it was,” he said.

Canterbury, a former North Ridgeville resident who trained at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland before moving to Boston three years ago, described the scene in the immediate aftermath of two explosions near the race’s finish line as mass chaos. Three people have died and many more were injured.

He said he had been assisting with the injured, trying to stop runners and bystanders from bleeding to death from their various injuries. Canterbury said he tried to think of it as a drill, but he said nothing could prepare him for what had happened.

“No, this isn’t a drill. This is the real thing,” he said he remembered thinking.

Canterbury was one of several people with Lorain County roots at the race when the bombs detonated.

Don Lusher, former track and field coach for Keystone High School, said he and a group of friends who were running the marathon narrowly missed the chaos. Lusher said he was trapped in his hotel room afterward, as roads were shut down and flights out of the city were canceled.

“It’s like a war zone here,” he said. “They’re telling us not to go out of our hotel. It’s just crazy.”

Lusher counted himself lucky as he and his friends had finished the race just moments before the explosions. He fielded calls all day from friends and family members.

“Things like this happen, and you’re afraid to go out the door because the trash can you walk by may have a bomb in it,” he said. “Ever since it happened, we’re answering texts and phone calls from friends like, ‘Are you alive?’ Do you ever expect to get a text like that, like, ‘Are you alive?’ Or a call from your wife, who is crying?”

Jacqueline Palfy-Klemond, a former Elyria resident who now works for the Argus Leader Newspaper in Sioux Falls, S.D., was in Boston to run the race, and ended up reporting on it.

Palfy-Klemond was running her 10th Boston Marathon, and she finished in three hours and 51 seconds, just 18 minutes prior to the explosions. She said people were running staggered starts, so some were still running when the explosions occurred.

As rescue crews arrived on the scene, some roads were shut down, leaving Palfy-Klemond’s sister, Pam Palfy-Webber, and John Webber, Elyria Catholic High School graduates, stuck at mile 23. The two were spectators at the event.

“It was chaotic and scary, but some people were calm and kind,” Palfy-Klemond wrote. “Boston puts on a world-class marathon and responded quickly.”

Reports from the scene were still unclear Monday afternoon to what exactly happened, but Canterbury said someone likely targeted the Boston Marathon because there were so many people in attendance.

“I don’t know if it was to make a statement or to hurt people, but they succeeded in both,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or

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