17-Year-Old Shields Little Sister From Storm Debris

Substantial Damage Seen In Joelton

JOELTON, Tenn. - A 17-year-old shielded her little sister from flying debris as a storm wreaked havoc on their home.

At least two houses on Gary Road near Union Hill Road in Joelton were severely damaged.

The National Weather Service confirmed on Sunday an EF-1 tornado ripped through that area.

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Tornado Warnings, Damage Reported In Middle Tennessee
EF-1 Tornado Rips Through Joelton

One home had half of the roof ripped off, and there was a tree down on several cars next door.

Ellie Williams, age 17, was home watching after her little sister when the storm hit.

"I just noticed that the wind started picking up. It was raining a little bit, and I noticed that our pool tarp started coming undone, and so I went out there to fix it and the wind started picking up a little bit more and so I started going up back to our house," Williams said.

That's when she realized she couldn't get back inside.

"But the door was locked. We locked ourselves out, so I just grabbed her and went into the fetal position and I used some of our outdoor furniture and the wind was just swirling and we were just praying that we'd be saved because it was really scary," Williams said. "And I remember my sister just saying, 'Jesus please save us.'"

Miraculously, Williams and her 9-year-old sister were okay. 

"The wind died down after 15 or 20 seconds and we looked up and things were everywhere. Our grill was right next to our heads. It had landed there," Williams said.

There was extensive damage to her family's property.

"We have an old tobacco barn, and we looked outside to where it's normally sitting and I didn't see it," Williams said.

Two barns in the Gary Road area were leveled according to the Office of Emergency Management.

"Definitely a tornado. The wind was swirling. I heard people said it sounds like a freight train, just the gushing of the wind like everywhere," Williams said.

A massive tree crushed her dad's truck.

"If you can see my dads truck is underneath the tree," she said.

While it was tough to look at the damage, all Williams could think about was how thankful she was that they were okay.

"I guess it was instinct, a motherly instinct," Williams said.

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