Woman killed as thunderstorms move through Oklahoma

Strong winds with a squall line of thunderstorms moved through the state Monday afternoon, killing one person in Pontotoc County, authorities said.
BY MATT DINGER mdinger@opubco.com Modified: February 21, 2012 at 5:13 am •  Published: February 20, 2012
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A woman was killed Monday in Pontotoc County when her trailer was toppled by a squall line of severe thunderstorms moving through the state, authorities said.

Michelle Epperly, 51, was inside a doublewide trailer with her husband in the Happyland community, about five miles east of Ada, when storms blew through the county, Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said. She died at the scene.

“The trailer home rolled several times, it appears,” Christian said.

Her husband, Rick Epperly, 54, was trapped under the debris. He was flown to an Oklahoma City hospital Monday night. His condition was not known.

“He was conscious and able to communicate with the rescuers. They were able to communicate with him and get him moved out from underneath the debris,” Christian said.

“It could have been a microburst or a small tornado,” Pontotoc County emergency manager Chad Letellier said.

Four other homes in Pontotoc County also received minor damage, he said.

In Oklahoma City, a car dealership and a piece of glass in the Devon Tower were damaged by storms.

Eight vehicles were damaged at Edmond Hyundai on Broadway Extension when a storm toppled light poles onto vehicles, said Phil Wartley, general sales manager.

“All of a sudden, just a big gust of wind. I look up and I said ‘What's going on?' and I see this first pole out front fall. The glass shattered and at that time I started running down the hall for safety,” Wartley said.

“I a hundred percent thought it was a tornado and I took off. Started yelling at everyone to get in the closet area and buckle down. It lasted all of about 15, 16 seconds and it all cleared up,” he said.

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