Tornado claims 6 lives in Pekin and Henryville PDF Print E-mail

Jeanie Lewellen walked with her granddaughter Janessa just moments after last Friday’s tornado ripped through Old Pekin Road.
Lewellen’s home was destroyed. She held her dog and a picture of her mother but her main concern was not on all that she had lost it was the family of five that lived in the home across the street.


She wondered about them and new the outcome was not good. Her fears were confirmed as Washington County Coroner Rondale Brishaber released the names of the deceased early Saturday afternoon.
Dead are Joseph Babcock 21, Moriah Brough 20, Jaydon Babcock 2, Kendall Babcock 55 days old.
Brishaber said all the victims were from the same family and he isn’t sure if they have large families in the area. He said he talked to one next of kin in Austin.
He hesitated to compare the scene with anything else he had seen during his time as coroner.
“It was bad enough,” Brishaber said.
Early Sunday evening, the baby that was found in a field in Pekin and flown to Kosair also died. Angel Babcock, 15 months old, was the fifth member of the family to pass away.
According to a report in the Louisville Courier Journal, funeral arrangements are pending. All five will be buried together and the family is requesting privacy.
Three others from Washington County who were injured in the storm are still in Critical condition and another nine were in the hospital with injuries not considered the be life threatening.
The tornado hit Pekin just before 3 p.m. and emergency crews spent the next five and a half hours combing through the wreckage looking for anyone who might be trapped.
Those efforts ended at around 8:30 p.m. Friday night when Washington County Sheriff Claude Combs met with members of the media.
“This is not the first tornado to ever hit Washington County, but it’s the deadliest,” Combs said as he informed the media that four were confirmed dead at that time.
Combs was confident at that point in the evening that everyone in Washington County were present and accounted.
Early Saturday morning the parking lot behind the Pekin Town was filled with trucks ready to start getting power turned on and to clean up the mess of the tornado wreckage.
So many didn’t know where to begin.
Pekin Clerk-Treasured Sherry Clem was one who lost everything in the storm.
“You just don’t know what you are going to do next,” she said still visibly shaken from the days’ events.
Church members from neighboring communities didn’t waste anytime in showing up. They started arriving in town and getting to work early Saturday morning..
Sean Wilkin of Lanesville, led a group from New Life Christian Church. He also lead a team that traveled to Joplin to help with the clean up efforts there.
He said he and his fellow church members were anxious to jump in and help and be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
The New Life group ended up at the home of Lewellen. They helped the family move belongings out of the house. Once they had finished with all they could do there, they moved to the Pekin United Methodist Church to help unload the many supplies that began to pour in through donations.
Walmart, JayC, Home Depot and hundreds of volunteers have since donated items, turning the United Methodist church’s gym into a warehouse full of supplies for those who were affected.
Victims of the storm can go to the church to get items they need.
A story with more information about those items can be found in this paper.