Local Baker Recounts Harrowing Experience as Last Driver Over Key Bridge Before Collapse

Larry Desantis, a baker from Pasadena, considers himself incredibly fortunate to have narrowly escaped the catastrophic Key Bridge collapse last Tuesday morning. Desantis says he was likely one of the final drivers to cross the ill-fated span before it was struck and decimated by a cargo ship around 1:30 a.m.

For decades, Desantis’s daily commute took him over the Key Bridge as he traveled between his jobs at a grocery store and Herman’s Bakery in Dundalk. On the fateful morning of April 25th, he vividly recalls details of his bridge crossing mere moments before disaster struck.

“When I got to the top, they were working on it, which is pretty normal…The men were out there working. There were quite a few of them out doing their jobs,” Desantis recounted. He focused intently while navigating the construction zone.

After clearing the bridge, Desantis noticed an eerie stillness and lack of activity around the Amazon facility he typically passes. “I didn’t see any trucks whatsoever…It was so eerie…It just gave me a really weird feeling that something was going on.”

Minutes later, while stopped at a red light, a coworker called to inform him the bridge had collapsed right after he crossed it. “She said ‘you know the bridge collapsed?’ I said ‘Well I just went over the bridge. I just went over it.’”

It wasn’t until arriving at the bakery and witnessing the catastrophic footage that Desantis fully grasped how narrowly he had evaded tragedy. “It was probably less than a minute that it collapsed after I went over it. If I had been a minute later, I might not be talking to you. It’s scary.”

Video evidence showed Desantis’s vehicle among the last to make it across before the cargo ship Dali violently struck and decimated the bridge. A detective even called to confirm if he had safely exited given his visible truck in the footage.

In the aftermath, Desantis has tried keeping busy at work while coping with the profound emotions of his near-death experience and mourning for those lost. “You have to live for the day and try to be good to people. You never know you could be gone in a minute. Less than a minute.”

The Pasadena baker’s harrowing account underscores the thin margin between life and this unthinkable disaster. His story is a sobering reminder of the Key Bridge collapse’s catastrophic toll and how quickly fortunes can change.