Family of Tornado Victim Reflects on Deadly Day
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- So far there's been only one confirmed death in Cleveland County from the Monday night's storms. It happened in an area where several generations of one family have lived for decades. Now, they must make a new beginning.
The Rider family has lived in the same part of Cleveland County since Pearl Harbor day, December 7, 1941.They say, for 70 years storms have missed them, but that all changed Monday.
The tornado destroyed just about everything in its path, and it claimed the life of 29-year-old Tammy Rider.
"I know she loved her family," said Shawna Rider Johnson. "I know that she loved her kids."
Three of Tammy Rider's children were critically injured. Other Rider family members had stories of injuries, close calls and miraculous escapes.
"My son has 10 stitches," said Tammy's sister-in-law Raelene Rider. "He dug my dad out of their house. I mean, he was cut. He wrapped bandages around his leg and got my dad out. They were lucky, very lucky."
"I had already taken my shoes and socks off, and I don't think I have time to get socks; I got flip flops, made it to my brother's house and you heard how long we had," said Norman Rider, another Rider relative. "When I got to my brother's door, I thought, 'This is it, we're going to die.'"
Norman Rider didn't die. But everything the family had built up here over the years is gone.
Now all the Riders are dealing with death and destruction. And some of them are wondering why they were spared and one of their relatives wasn't.
A private funeral will be held for Tammy Rider.
A family member said 9-year-old Jason is in critical condition, 3-year-old Ethan is also in critical condition but improving and 1-year-old Regan is in good condition.