Ithaca, N.Y. — Adam Cortright was in Moravia, about 30 minutes from Ithaca, when he got a call from someone who said there’d been an accident at Simeon’s Restaurant.
His fiancé was still inside.
Cortright rushed to the city. When he got there, Cortright found the building blocked by a swarm of emergency responders. At first, he couldn’t find his bride-to-be.
“The police were trying to keep me from breaking the barriers,” Cortright said. “I made it past the police and firemen for a minute.”
After fighting through to the restaurant, Cortright found the woman he’d loved for six years.
Amanda Bush, mother of their 14-month-old baby and pregnant with their second child, would die at 27. She worked at Simeon’s as the lead bartender.
Police struggled to get Cortright out of the bistro.
“I wasn’t trying to leave, but I got to a point where I thought I was going to jail,” Cortright said.
The crash 4 p.m. Friday in Ithaca’s most populous region has rattled the city.
Hundreds of people were on the street as the horrifying scene unfolded, with bricks tumbling from the building that housed Simeon’s.
Hundreds more have stopped by since to look up at the monstrous scene, with its multiple stories of exposed apartments.
But none has been as affected as Cortright.
“We were engaged to be married,” Coright said in an interview over the phone. “We were very, very much in love.”
Cortright said he met Bush when she was a waitress at the Boatyard Grill and he was a cook.
Together, they moved to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a little over four years. They decided to come back to Upstate New York when they learned Bush was pregnant with their first child, Madison.
“She was amazing, the most amazing woman god ever put on this earth,” Cortright said. “The most caring, compassionate woman…”
Cortright said he wanted to apologize to the many friends and family who had called him in the wake of the tragedy.
“I’m not fit to go through the more than 500 messages in my inbox,” Cortright said.
Cortright said he wanted to thank the community for rallying to his side — “the public outcry has been amazing,” he said. He also wanted to thank an Ithaca police officer who he said did a great job helping him at the scene and has since checked back multiple times to make sure Cortright is doing okay.
Cortright said he and Bush got engaged around Christmastime.
They hadn’t picked a wedding date yet because Bush didn’t want to be pregnant in her wedding photos, Cortright said.
“She was starting to show,” Cortright said, “and we wanted to have the ceremony after she had the baby.”
To help the family of Amanda Bush, see: The Amanda Bush Memorial Fund.