Kenly couple lies in ditch to escape twister

Posted April 27, 2011 10:17 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2011 5:13 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.