CINCINNATI - Former Congresswoman Jean Schmidt had just finished the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon and was waiting at the finish line for her twin sister when the explosions occurred at the event.
"I finished it 13 minutes before it happened," Schmidt said.
The ex-politician from Clermont County was waiting for her twin sister, Jennifer Black, who was running about 26 minutes behind her. Schmidt's cousin and another running partner were also in the marathon.
"I was scared to death," Schmidt told WCPO Digital by telephone from her Boston hotel room. "I heard the first explosion and saw the second one. You could see the smoke rising."
Almost instantly, the scene began bustling with fleeing spectators and frantic emergency crews.
"You saw people coming out with wheelchairs and stretchers and other things, to get to some of the runners," Schmidt said.
When Schmidt recovered her belongings from the bus where runners stash their personal items during the marathon, she found her cell phone had been taken but her sister's remained. That was her first indication that he sister was fine.
Ultimately, she was about to contact Black, who had been given Schmidt's cell phone.
"I am still very nervous and upset," she said.
Schmidt, her sister and other companions were unharmed in the blast.
Schmidt is staying at the Marriott Copley Place, located about one block from the finish line. She was ushered back to her hotel and told not to leave.
"We're all staying at the hotel until we're told it's OK to go outside," she said.