The Norman Transcript

Headlines

May 23, 2013

Oklahoma visitor had brush with tornado’s fury

MOORE — Tim Lawrence was just in town to visit his family, but he had to huddle close with them in a storm cellar Monday afternoon as the tornado swept through the neighborhood.

The Portsmouth, Ohio, man was at his brother’s house when the menace came barreling toward Moore. Lawrence’s father had been warned to take cover, but they eventually decided to drive to the home near 19th Street and Santa Fe Avenue.

Lawrence said the idea came from his brother’s wife.

“He let her talk him into doing the stupidest thing he’s ever done. He started driving toward the tornado,” Lawrence said.

They arrived just in time to hustle down to the shelter.

“He took one last look out the door of that cellar, and closed the door and hooked it,” Lawrence said. “We feared for our lives after that because it went right over us.”

He said his father’s house was devastated, and that it is too damaged for recovery.

“We had to fight our way out of the house. A tree fell over the door and it took both of us, everything we had to get out of there,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence, his brother and his sister-in-law were among dozens walking along 19th Street, dazed at what they saw. Along the north side of the road were the remains of Briarwood Elementary School.

“We heard about this and wanted to come take a look,” Lawrence said.

He said he’s never seen anything like that before.

“And I don’t intend to see it again,” he said.

Wayne Kerr also lives in one of the damaged neighborhoods nearby. After a day without electricity or water, he decided to take a walk, too.

“We just wanted to get out. We were tired of sitting there,” he said, as he walked alongside Terry Smelik.

They barely missed the tornado by driving south, away from its path.

“When we got home yesterday afternoon, we didn’t know the school had been messed up. We had no electricity. We didn’t have the radio on or nothing,” Kerr said as he looked across the street to the heaped remains of Briarwood. “It’s just a shame to see all this destruction.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Baker home 3 Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Voter registration deadline is Friday

    Friday is the last day to apply for voter registration to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 26 Runoff Primary Election. Races include federal, state and county offices, but for Cleveland County voters, the field is limited....

    July 30, 2014

  • Norman High student argues his way to the top

    Knowing the ins and outs of an argument that involves complex research is the type of skill one expects a high paid attorney to have not a high school student. Yet debate competitor Nicky Halterman has been arguing his way to the top of ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate approves new VA secretary

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans’ waits for health care and VA ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Tampering accusations surface in OKC bombing case

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawyer suing the FBI over his public records request for surveillance videos from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing said Tuesday that one of his witnesses backed out after being visited by government officials last ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate passes highway bill, sends it to House

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014