Limestone County family rides out storm in mini-van

LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Imagine a powerful tornado bearing down on you and the only place you have to hide is in the family car.

The family lost power and didn't have a battery powered radio, so they loaded into the family van to try and find a weather report.

Minutes later, they found themselves directly in the middle of a twister.

"Watched it come across that field. It hit...shook like riding a simulator. 30 seconds it was gone," said Jeff McCafferty.

The storm blew out the van's air bags and windows.

"It was flat on the ground when it came across here. My wife, two boys were in the van with me. You couldn't see it after the first initial 3-4 seconds, the windshield caved in.  She said 'The windows are gone!'  It was too late, debris flying everywhere. It was that quick. It was hit and gone," said McCafferty.

Once he saw his own place was leveled, McCafferty ran up the street to his neighbors' house.

There he found a woman in her Jeep-with a serious leg injury. Her 41-year-old granddaughter was dead.

McCafferty said he's lucky---his family was spared. He believes it was more than just his mini van that saved their life.

"If you looked at it from the air, I imagine there is something a mark, not a hand print, but something that held that bad boy on the ground," said McCafferty.

McCafferty said he will rebuild in the same spot.

As for his neighbor's granddaughter, Shannon Sampson was laid to rest Friday. Her grandmother Sue Eady continues to recover from her injuries.

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