Close call: Truckers tell of tornadoes in the South

| 4/28/2011

OOIDA member Mike Canady was on Interstate 20 in Tuscaloosa, AL, late Wednesday, April 27, when a mile-wide tornado came into view within several hundred feet of his truck.

Canady, who is from Oklahoma City, had been listening to the “Truckin Bozo” show talk about where the tornadoes were. He checked his weather radio.

Canady spoke to Land Line Now about what happened next.

“I realized there it was. It came up onto the interstate and went down the interstate just a little bit. It got to I-20 and the Black Warrior Parkway, hit three trucks there, and then went off to my left and that’s when it tore through Tuscaloosa,” said Canady.

He indicated that the drivers of the trucks that did get hit “were pretty beat up” and one man was taken away in an ambulance.

“If I hadn’t been listening to Bozo, I wouldn’t have known it and I would have been right in the middle of it. I would’ve got hit. ... It was a close call last night, but I’m just happy to be here this morning,” Canady said.

Thursday, CNN was reporting that at least 230 people were killed late Wednesday as 164 tornadoes moved across 13 states, causing the most deaths and damage in five southern states. Alabama was hardest hit, with an early estimate of 128 killed. At least 32 deaths were reported in Mississippi.

Further east, in Virginia, a tornado hit the small town of Glade Springs on Interstate 81 early Thursday morning, destroying a Petro truck stop and other buildings.

OOIDA member Titus Taylor of Little Rock, AR, was asleep in his rig when the tornado hit shortly after 1 a.m. this morning. He spoke with Land Line Now about his experience.

“Next thing I knew I woke up, my truck was shaking, and I looked outside,” said Taylor. “You couldn’t see nothing but debris. It was definitely a tornado. It turned over trucks, tore up the shop. I know the truck stop had parts blown off it. It was like a disaster out there.”

When asked whether anyone was hurt, Taylor replied that “there were some injuries because they were using the restaurant as a triage area.”

Taylor said he got lucky, and his truck was not overturned.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told Land Line Now they know of three confirmed deaths in Glade Springs, but he didn’t know where the victims were when they died.

Meanwhile, tornado watches and warnings were being issued Thursday in parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as the same system of violent weather moved eastward.