Moore Police Sergeant Captures Deadly Tornado On Dash Cam

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 8:21 pm
By: News 9

A Moore police sergeant was positioned near Southmoore High School, and he had his dash cam rolling when the May 20 tornado hit, and started tearing up neighborhoods he patrols.

"Before this, I would have told you Moore was one of the safest places in the world to live, because we've already been through a monstrous tornado," said Sgt. Mark Snavely. "And nobody thought this was going to happen again."

The image of the mile-wide wedge tornado is frightening to watch. But this is what Snavely saw heading right for his district.

"Back to the west, I could see the tornado on the ground," said Snavely. "So I wanted to get video on it."

Mark says he was here during the May 3, 1999 tornado and the one four years later. He couldn't believe it was happening again. The dash cam video shows debris falling from the sky and hitting Mark's police car.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"And I thought it was hail," he recalls. "And I was looking around, and it was chunks of housing and debris that was hitting all around my car. And my car was rocking and at that point I thought I was probably too close, but it was too late to move."

What he saw in front of him was his greatest fear.

"We knew there was going to be heavy casualties," he said. "It was in the middle of the day, everybody was home."

Despite the fear he felt, Mark stayed calm.

"I don't remember being scared," he said. "I just remember it was important for all of us to be on the radio, advising our emergency people where it was at, and what it was doing."

That dash cam video only represents about 10 minutes of what Mark went through that horrible day. It actually ended in the Camden Village parking lot and right over there is the Plaza Towers neighborhood, where the officer ended up helping with rescue and recovery efforts.

He helped save two boys, and had to help pull out the seven children who died in the Plaza Towers Elementary school. His daughter's work was also hit, and she was buried in the debris. But she made it out alive.