EXCLUSIVE: Woman clings to tree, survives tornado - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

EXCLUSIVE: Woman clings to tree, survives tornado

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SAND FLAT, TX (KLTV) - She came face to face with a deadly twister and survived. Friday night, an East Texas woman is in intensive care in a Tyler hospital.

The woman was steps away from shelter when the rain-wrapped tornado hit her home.

"It's just amazing," said Randy Reagan. "The hand of God was on them I tell you."

The sign above the door of the Routier home now welcomes visitors to an empty shell. The storm peeled the house Leonard and Sarilda Routier worked so hard to build right off the ground.

Friday, family came together; Deon and Arenda standing by their father Leonard, with son Darin nearby.

"It's kind of like you look around and where do you start," said Reagan, a family cousin.

Reagan helped pick up the pieces, and was there minutes after the storm hit.

Leonard Routier was sitting in his corner chair listening to the radio when he heard the report. He called his wife, Sarilda, to warn her, but it was too late. The twister had struck. Leonard Routier wove his way through the damage in total darkness, fearing for his wife.

"He just ran out this side of the wall," said Reagan. "Of course, it's got an opening...he got to the trailer and starting knocking on the window saying, 'Sarilda! Sarilda!' and, he said, 'Sarilda, are you in there?' and she said, 'No, Honey, I'm over here.'"

She was trapped beneath a pile of rubble more than 25 feet away.

"[The] motorcycle laying beside her, [a] microwave in front of her [and] stuff on top of her," said Reagan.

Routier freed herself with help and explained what happened moments earlier.

"She said it sucked her out...at that time everything started, lifting, and so she grabbed this tree...and at some point it blew over her and landed over here against this tree," said Reagan. "She said, 'I think I'm OK. I think I'm OK.'"

Emergency responders thought otherwise, taking Sarilda Routier to a nearby hospital. Family members look at the loss of home but thank God they did not lose a mother.

Doctors diagnosed Routier with a hematoma on her abdomen. The Routier family says Sarilda will most likely remain in ICU Friday night, but should be well enough for a regular hospital room by Saturday.

©2010 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly