WKYT - Johnson - Headlines

KY truck driver caught in OK tornado

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - A truck driver from Kentucky found himself in the middle of a deadly Oklahoma tornado Sunday.

The owners of Blair Transport in Johnson County say one of their drivers drove right through Shawnee, OK, as a twister barrelled down destroying almost everything in its path.

Owners told Mountain News a tracking device is what let them know something was not right.

Owner Chris Blair says he was at home keeping a close eye on the weather out west knowing some of his truck drivers could be in harms way.

"We see tornadic activity or anything like that we always monitor our drivers, call them and tell them to stop," he said.

When he saw images of trucks thrown around like toys he had no idea one of those trucks was his.

"Never in a million years did we have ever dreamed that it would have blown him off of a bridge," Blair said.

He says it was all thanks to a GPS tracking device installed on each one of their trucks that let them know that one was headed straight for a tornado.

"Right here is the last ping," Blair pointed, "And then right here something is not right because he just made a right turn off an overpass. We knew something was horribly wrong right there."

After several failed attempts at calling the driver all Blair could do was wait and wonder.

Two hours after the tornado hit he got his answer.

"He stopped his truck on a bridge on Interstate 40 with the intention of getting under the bridge for safety. Prior to him exiting the vehicle the wind picked the truck up blew it over the edge of the bridge, and it fell 50 feet to the road below," said Blair.

The storm left the driver, 44-year-old Steve Everett, with serious injuries.

"The rig can be replaced. The cargo is no concern. Our main focus at this time is the driver's well being," said Blair.

Everett was flown to Oklahoma City with a fractured skull and some possible spine fractures.

Blair says Everett is paralized from the waist down, but doctors are hopeful he could walk again.

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