Kenly couple lies in ditch to escape twister

Posted April 27, 2011
Updated May 4, 2011

— A Kenly couple lay in a ditch April 16 to escape the ferocious twister that blasted through their mobile home and severely crippled operations at a nearby high school.

A surveillance camera at North Johnston High school was rolling as the storm spun through the area.

"It was like this great big cloud that was going to fall at any time," said storm victim Audrey Johnson.

She and her husband Wendell Johnson watched the video Wednesday. When the tornado gets to their home, the video shows debris burst into the air.

"That is just wicked," Wendell Johnson said as he watched the footage.

Instead of staying inside their vulnerable mobile home, the Johnsons took refuge in a shallow ditch. The funnel cloud and their home passed over their bodies.

"You can actually feel it trying to pull on you," Wendell Johnson said.

kenly couple Kenly couple lies in ditch to escape twister

After the storm had passed, Wendell Johnson noticed his wife was no longer in the ditch. She'd been sucked out of it and slammed to the ground by a pile of debris.

"When he cleared everything off of me, he said when he first looked at me he thought I was dead," Audrey Johnson said.

The Johnsons only suffered minor cuts and bruises and they're staying in an RV until they find a more permanent home.


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  • sayitoutloud Apr 29, 2011

    justmy2cents... I live in Sanford and had many friends that were affected by the storm on the 16th. After seeing the distruction Ive seen it doesnt matter if you were in a trailer or a brick house.
    Also I have friends that also had to lay in the ditch in front of their home on Poplar Springs ch rd. They got pounded with debris and one had to have emergency surgery to repair her shattered arm.

  • caji316 Apr 28, 2011

    Wait till next month..FEMA, Homeland Security and HAARP have a surprise for you at the New Madrid Fault Line....The weather is just a spring shower now to what it will be next month...

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Apr 28, 2011

    just glad they are both okay!

  • just my2cents Apr 28, 2011

    Glad you are both ok. Mobile homes and cars are NO place to be in a bad storm, not to mention a tornado!

  • Joe Schmoe Apr 28, 2011

    "A Kenly couple laid in a ditch"

    They LAY in a ditch. C'mon, WRAL!

  • awr117 Apr 28, 2011

    milk it wral, milk it!

  • stepbak Apr 28, 2011

    wow! glad you all are ok!

  • hollylama Apr 28, 2011

    EVERYONE should dig a ditch on the side of their home because the intensity of these storms are treating stationary homes like mobile homes.