Dashcam Video: First-Responders In The Thick Of LaSalle County Tornado

(CBS) — Nearly a month ago, a tornado rocked two towns southwest of Chicago.

Now, we are getting a rare look inside the deadly storm in the town of Ottawa, from the rescuers’ point of view.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports.

“Take cover!” That was the stern message from Ottawa Sgt. Barry Baxter on Feb. 28.

Soon, he was in the thick of it himself, with trees falling left and right, and power lines swinging wildly.

Officer’s Jim Bell’s view – according to his dash-cam – was ominous. Residents are seen flagging him down, as people inundate 9-1-1 dispatchers.

“I’m trapped in my car. I’m at my house. I pulled in my carport and it came right down and I cannot get out of my car,” one woman says.

Dispatchers tell callers they want to know about any injuries. Police report there are two victims underneath a tree – both unresponsive. Killed were Wayne Tuntland, 76, and DJ Johnson, 31.

Elsewhere, the storm forced first-responders out of their trucks because of blocked roadways.

Three weeks later, Drone 2 showed rebuilding efforts are far from over.

LaSalle County’s emergency management director says most of the tornado victims had insurance. They’re working on a long-term recovery plan to assist people still needing help in Ottawa and neighboring Naplate, which also was hit.

 

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