Local News

Lee County girl escapes tornado-squashed truck to save father

Posted May 10, 2011 10:47 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2011 11:39 p.m. EDT

— A Lee County girl squeezed out of her father's squashed truck three weeks ago to find help after the tornado that flattened a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Sanford sent a wall crashing down on them.

Carey Rosser and his 13-year-old daughter Hannah stopped at the Lowe's on April 16, and noticed that a rain-wrapped tornado was heading their way. One of the store's walls slammed down on their truck, trapping them inside.

"My leg was pinned by the steering wheel. The roof was on my back and my chest was in the console," said Carey Rosser. "I'm still over my daughter, but I can't move."

Neither was hurt, but unaware of what might fall on them next, they had to escape.

"I just swallowed and said, 'Don't worry, I'll go get help,'" Hannah Rosser said.

She crawled down into a small opening where the bottom of the truck had buckled under the weight of the wall, she said. Then she wriggled into the backseat and out the back window.

"A lot of times I'd tell people, 'Oh, I hate being small. I wish I could be taller because people make fun of me,'" Hannah Rosser said. 

"Now it's like, that's why I'm small. God had a plan for me being small," she said.

The Rossers said that God has always watched out for the girl. 

Six years ago, a drunk driver crashed head-on into the car she was riding in. Hannah Rosser spent more than a week in the hospital, but she survived.

"She pulled through that," Carey Rosser said. "To her, this tornado was nothing."

Hannah Rosser was able to track down a rescue team from Maryland training to use the Jaws of Life. The team headed to Lowe's when it saw the tornado coming and cut Carey Rosser from his truck.