Hopkinsville tornado survivors share harrowing account

Hopkinsville tornado survivors share harrowing account
Posted at 9:56 PM, Jan 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 13:12:19-05

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WTVF) — As dusk fell over Hopkinsville on Sunday evening, not even the gentle sound of church bells or a dusting of snow could hide the destruction that took place just a day before.

"We're kind of staying kind of close together these days," said Shari Jones standing next to her husband Mark in the parking lot of the Marathon gas station on East 9th Street. It's where the two were fueling up the morning before.

Marathon gas station in Hopkinsville
Shari and Mark Jones were pumping gas at the Marathon gas station on East 9th Street in Hopkinsville when a tornado came straight towards them.

Mark said, "so I come up to go around the pump here to talk to her and then I, just out of the corner of my eye, see something."

That "something" was an EF2 tornado barreling straight at them.

"However fast old people can run over there is how fast we ran," said Shari.

The Jones' said it took seconds for the tornado to reach where they had been standing. A gas pump was ripped from the ground and fell where Shari had been pumping gas just moments before it happened. The entire overhang of the gas station also came crashing to the ground.

The AutoZone next-door became the couple's shelter. "So we ran over here and I just said we gotta get down, we gotta get down," said Mark.

AutoZone in Hopkinsville
Shari and Mark Jones point to a spot on the ground outside AutoZone where they took shelter out in the open as a tornado barreled past them.

"My head was up here and I was facing the wall trying to not be out that way and he was over me, you know, keeping anything from hitting me," said Shari. The two laid on the floor against the brick facade of the auto store, off to the side of the tornado's path.

In just a minute the tornado destroyed several businesses, taking down power lines and forever leaving an impact. "It was the only time ever in my life, probably hers too, that you really wonder- I ever wondered- if I was going to make it," said Mark. "I mean I wasn't sure"

It was the first day of 2022 that no one could imagine, but the Jones aren't disappointed.

"Somebody said 'it was New Years day, what bad luck'. Well, not from our perspective," said Mark. "We get new vehicles, but we can't... you know," he said pointing to himself and Shari.

"So we feel," said Mark,"very fortunate," interjected Shari. "Yeah, for sure," said Mark.