The house across the street was gone.
It looked like somebody had dropped a bomb. Robert Jolley: Anticipating a lot of damage, I followed the tornado about 20 miles as I patrolled the southeast corner of the county. I saw a man [Robert Williams] staggering, disoriented. I asked if anyone else was around. I found her mother, Catherine Crago, first, pinned face down, half of her body beneath a flatbed trailer that had been thrown by the incredible winds.
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I was scanning that area on foot when I saw movement. I walked over and reached into a mound of chicken wire, paper and other debris, and I grabbed her leg. It was warm. When I rubbed the mud from her ears and eyes, only then did she start to cry. I found a shirt to wrap her in, then I drove one-handed to a triage center, holding her face against my chest to keep her warm.
Crago: The whole three or four hours after I was driven by paramedics to the hospital, I thought Aleah was dead. The only thing I could picture was three big coffins—for my mother, father and Ben—and one little one.
Finally, the nurses came and asked me if I had a month-old baby. Amy was treated for head injuries. Williams suffered a chipped collarbone. I thank God every day Aleah is still here with me. If you have opted in for our browser push notifications, and you would like to opt-out, please refer to the following instructions depending on your device and browser.
After a succession of deadly tornadoes carved an mile path of devastation across central Oklahoma on May 3, taking 41 lives and reducing thousands of homes to rubble, one unforgettable image gripped the nation: a mud-covered month-old baby named Aleah Crago cradled against the chest of her rescuer, Grady County Deputy Sheriff Robert Jolley. Then we saw the big white cloud circulating around it and knew that was the tornado.
There was no time to react, no place to go.
Taken by the Wind
We all huddled in the hall closet. Everybody was sort of holding onto Aleah, but she was sitting in my lap. As the storm got closer, it was very, very loud, more like a jet than a train. Then it ripped the roof off the house and sucked Ben and the baby and me up and out. It was really bright, and the-debris was hitting us. It blew me up, and I hit a tree.
After that I was just fighting it and trying to keep it from taking me wherever it was taking me. Finally, I put my head down and put my hands over my head, like they teach you in school.
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When I looked up, I was about feet from where the house had been. My house was gone.
About – Taken by the Wind
The house across the street was gone. It looked like somebody had dropped a bomb.
Robert Jolley: Anticipating a lot of damage, I followed the tornado about 20 miles as I patrolled the southeast corner of the county. I saw a man [Robert Williams] staggering, disoriented.
I asked if anyone else was around.
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