Oklahoma Woman Killed, Husband Critically Injured In Severe Storm

Tuesday, February 21st 2012, 6:33 pm
By: News 9

The first severe storm of the year turned deadly for an Oklahoma woman. Machelle Epperly, 51, and her husband Rick, 54, were inside their trailer when the storm blew through.

2/21/2012 Related Story: Authorities ID Victims In Severe Weather Damage In Pontotoc County

Their neighbor of more than 30 years was the first to witness the aftermath.

"I really think it was a tornado," Gary Ballagh said.

He said the winds picked up the trailer and threw it. The couple was trapped underneath the home.

"After it was all over I came out and I just seen the trailer was gone. I just could not comprehend what happened," Ballagh said.

He heard Rick calling for help. Ballagh said first responders arrived within minutes of his 911 call.

The Epperly's family, friends, and coworkers came together Tuesday afternoon to sift through the piles of debris and to clean up the damage. The couple's son's only comment is that he wants to focus on the cleanup and his father's recovery.

Rick is recovering at OU Medical Center. The Pontotoc County Sheriff said the man suffered several broken bones. The hospital could not confirm the injuries.

The Epperlys are both employed by Pontotoc County. Machelle's coworkers say she will be sorely missed.