Oklahoma tornadoes: Cashion man died in May 24 tornado while trying to save his wife

Billy Leeper and his wife were trying to get to shelter May 24 when a tornado destroyed their mobile home outside Cashion. The tornado bore down on them as they were getting into their truck to drive away. Leeper covered his wife to try to protect her from the storm. She survived, but he didn't.
BY DARLA SLIPKE dslipke@opubco.com Published: June 1, 2011
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Billy Leeper and his wife, Pamela, were trying to get to shelter last week when a tornado bore down on their mobile home near Cashion.

As their son, Codey, sped down the road to check on them, he hoped his parents would be gone. But when he pulled up to their home, he saw his dad trying to lift his mom, who has a degenerative back disorder, into their truck.

A few seconds later, their trailer exploded.

Billy Leeper, 63, threw his body over his wife's to try to shield her.

That's the last thing Codey Leeper, 29, saw through his pickup window as debris started to rain down on him.

The storm knocked Billy and Pamela Leeper to the ground as it lifted their truck and dropped the vehicle on top of their son's. Then it lifted the truck again and threw it about 35 feet, Codey Leeper said.

Two other vehicles and a trailer landed on top of his truck, crushing him and his dog against the floorboards.

When the storm passed, Codey Leeper crawled out of his crushed truck.

His dad was dead, but his mom survived.

Pamela Leeper was released from the hospital Monday night. She has about 27 staples in her head, staples on her arm and scrapes and bruises all over her body, her son said. But that's nothing compared to the emotional toll.

She lost her husband of 31 years. She also lost two mobile homes and several vehicles during the tornado. Her five Chihuahuas survived.


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