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Tornado survivor: 'It sounded like a freight train'

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For Katie Leggett it was 15 seconds that seemed like a lifetime. And it made a lifetime memory.

Leggett had an up close and personal look at the storm which hit the greater Pembroke area Tuesday evening and it has left an indelible mark on her memory.

The wife of Tony Leggett and mother of Bryan County High School baseball standout Konner Leggett was standing in front of her house when she saw the tornado approaching and she only had a split second to react.

“We live right behind Hendrix Park,” Leggett said. “We could see it coming and it looked like it was coming right at us. We ran inside and took cover.

“You could see it turning so we all ran to the opposite of the house. It sounded like a freight train. It was over in 15 seconds.”

It was approximately 5:25 p.m. when Leggett and her family had their terrifying experience.

The reason Leggett knew the time was because she got on the phone with her daughter, Kelsey, who was coming home from Statesboro where she attends Georgia Southern University. Kelsey was at Hwy 119 and Bill Futch Road.

Leggett said the call, per her phone, lasted nine minutes and Kelsey, who was told to stop her car, did not know what was happening. All she heard was screaming and then the phone line went dead.

It was two hours before Kelsey and her family connected as roads were closed and cell towers were down.

“She didn’t know whether we were dead or alive,” said Leggett who choked up when talking about the ordeal and the scene in the nearby Park Place subdivision.

“I walked up there and it was unbelievable,” Leggett said of Park Place. “Trees were down, electric lines were down. They weren’t going to let me in but I told them I was looking for my daughter. We didn’t know where she was because we couldn’t communicate with her.

“Park Place was devastating. The trees looked like someone had taken a chain saw to them.”

As the twister approached Leggett said the only thing she could do was pray.

“You had a split second to react,” Leggett said. “Afterwards, I was thanking God. When I got to Park Place I felt guilty. It was indescribable.”

Leggett said the Redskins’ baseball home game with Metter scheduled for Thursday at Hendrix Park would be played except it would be played at Claxton which is 15 miles from Pembroke. The Redskins are playing their home games at Hendrix this season as their field at the high school is being upgraded.

“They (Claxton High School) reached out and offered their field,” Leggett said. “That was nice of them. So many people have offered help.”

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