CHICAGO (CBS) – The Ottawa tornado claimed one man’s life on Tuesday.
Wayne Tuntland died in a part of the town that ironically was not badly damaged.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole explains what happened to Tuntland.
The neighborhood has been cleaning up for most of the day. The streets were littered with branches and limbs. The winds were powerful enough to pull the siding and doors off of homes. Some large trees were even split in half caused by the wind.
Imagine a large tree that can toppling to the ground with deadly consequences…
“You couldn’t see him at all when you looked over that big tree branch,” said neighbor, Myriah Douglas. “You could see a man. He looked like he was going to his back door. It’s so sad.”
76-year-old Wayne Tuntland was killed in his backyard when an enormous tree toppled onto his property, just moments after storm sirens sounded.
Douglas in the chaos of blinding rains heard voices calling for help and rushed in. It was actually Tuntland’s son Toby, whose friend DJ was trapped under the heavy branches.
“He looked like he was going in and out of cardiac arrest,” Douglas said. “I was on the phone with 911 checking for a pulse. It was very vague and then I remember lots of screaming and Toby’s mom asking where the father is.”
The tree was so massive; that no one noticed Wayne Tuntland, who was burning trash in his backyard, has been crushed beneath it just steps away.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking,” Douglas said.
Ironically, this corner of Ottawa was not among the most severely hit by the storm. Somehow, the over five-story tree was no match for the powerful winds. It leveled the Tuntland’s two cars as it slammed to the ground, practically the same spot where Wayne Tuntland’s life came to an end.
“It just happens like instantly,” Douglas said.
Power crews are working Wednesday evening to restore electricity.
CBS 2 spoke with D.J.’s father. He has been able to identify his son as David Johnson Jr. He is currently in an ICU unit in a hospital in Peoria, suffering significant injuries. His father said he was pushing his friend Toby to safety, when the tree came crashing on top of him.