Harrisburg, Illinois Tornado Takes Trucker On Wild Ride

Twister Lifts Trucker Across Highway
Photo courtesy of USA Today.

On February 29, 2012, Three Rivers Xpress driver Wayne Potee of Fayetteville, Tennessee had just settled into his bunk at a Harrisburg, Illinois Wal-Mart to catch some sleep. What he got was more than he bargained for.

Potee awoke to the sound of pounding hail, while 170 mph winds rocked his truck. Potee’s truck flipped and sailed across the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Potee, who doesn’t remember much from the incident, says he remembers  jumping out of his bunk and going to the front seat. “All I could think of was my TV,” Potee said.  When he looked down, Potee saw he was standing on his newly purchased 27″ LCD TV.  Below him was the passenger door.

For some time, Potee was trapped inside the rig.  Ron Holland of Eagle Valley Trucking had initially parked next to Potee, but when the storm came, he moved his truck.  Holland climbed on the rig and opened the door so Potee could move to safety.

Escaping with only some bruises and scrapes, Potee was very lucky. An EF-4, 200 yard wide tornado had passed through Harrisburg, leaving 7 dead in its wake.

With spring storm season ahead, drivers should keep emergency radios on at all times. Many models can be purchased at Amazon for around $50.00, a small price to pay to save your life.