Chelsea, Ind.—Terry Kleopfer has driven a bus for the Southwestern School District in Hanover for 23 years and has never seen what she saw Friday afternoon.
"It was hailing so bad and I could see the cloud and I could see it was coming," said Kleopfer.
Kleopfer and two other bus drivers headed for the Chelsea general store, where sixty children sought refuge behind a giant cooler inside as the tornado passed by.
Another couple minutes on the road, and Kleopfer would have driven straight into the path of the twister which destroyed her house and killed four people in Jefferson County. Three of them were her relatives.
"My aunt and my uncle and their great grandbaby," said Kleopfer, choking back the tears as she gazed at the rubble across the road from her own home. "They're gone and there's nothing left…nothing but sticks."
Inside that home Terry and Carol Jackson and their great grandson Daylen died as they hid inside a bathroom with Daylen's mother and sister.
"They put both kids in the tub and evidently Daylen got swept out of his mother's arms," said Kleopfer. "They were found out in the field behind the house."
Kleopfer's own house was swept off its foundation and deposited intact 100 yards away.
"The Wizard of Oz,” said daughter Amber Kleopfer Senseny, referring to the classic Hollywood movie in which a house is swept up in a tornado and set down in one piece. "It’s uncanny."
Kleopfer's house may be in one piece, but it is still a wreck.
"Well, the garage is totally missing. We don't even know where it's at," said Senseny. "The rest of the house is fairly intact. The wood floors aren't even buckled. Most of the roof is gone.
"We're actually sitting on top of our creek that runs through our property," she said as she toured the house. "Right now you can hear the water running under the house. It's just right on top of the creek.
"This was my sister's bedroom," Senseny said, while opening a door to a room without a ceiling. "The sheets on her full-size bed were actually sucked up off the mattress and were hanging on the ceiling fan."