Tennessee twister kills mother and baby

The tornado struck around lunchtime, leaving 41 injured, 4 critically

The Associated PressApril 11, 2009 

— A tornado killed a woman and her 9-week-old infant and also injured dozens Friday in central Tennessee as a line of storms lifted homes, ripped off roofs and dumped hail in the Southeast.

Elsewhere, a tornado touched down in southwestern Kentucky, injuring two people and destroying homes. A possible tornado was reported in northeast Alabama. And large hail fell in North Carolina.

At least 41 people were hurt in Rutherford County, Tenn., four of them critically, in the aftermath of a storm system that killed three in western Arkansas a day earlier.

"I think we're right in the middle of tornado alley these days," said Dan Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department.

Dispatchers at the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency said the area was "heavily impacted" after several eyewitness reports of a tornado on the ground about 12:30 p.m.

In Murfreesboro, 30 miles southeast of Nashville, at least three dozen homes were destroyed. Roofs were ripped away from at least a dozen homes, and some trees were blown down. A bulldozer was clearing tree limbs and other debris from streets.

Kori Bryant, in her mid-20s, and 9-week-old Olivia Bryant were identified as the dead. They apparently were trying to get in a car -- both were found outside, and the infant was in a car seat, rescue official Randy White said.

Amy Jones, 32, was at work at State Farm Insurance when she heard that her house had been leveled. She was stunned when she got to the scene and saw that the 1,800-square-foot home with a garage was lifted completely off the foundation and dropped on her neighbor's home.

"My house is on top of someone else's house. It's surreal," Jones said.

Joe Spencer, 23, a student at Middle Tennessee State University, said he had only moments to react but survived a direct hit on his house.

"I was going to open the door to see what was going on, and I looked straight at a tornado," Spencer said.

He yelled at his brother to take shelter in one of the home's bathrooms and then ran to the other, jumping into the bathtub while holding his dog, Lloyd.

"The bathtub started shaking, and I just tried to grab ahold to anything I could. I grabbed the nozzle and turned on the water," Spencer said. Hours later, he was still wet up to his knees.

The roof over the living room of the house was gone, and the rest of the roof was caved in.

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