Storm chaser stops tracking tornado to help overturned semi driver


(NewsNation Now) — A storm chaser who was tracking severe weather from Arkansas to Missouri stopped to help a truck driver whose semi had been blown over.

Brandon Copic, the director of the ChaserWX Response Team, was following a tornado from the south as it was heading northeast. 

He said the first thing he came upon were two trucks that were flipped over. The first driver was fine, but another was “cut up, bruised and bleeding everywhere,” said Copic.

Then, “We had spotted another semi-truck that was well over 200 yards out in a field that was clearly lofted by the tornado,” Copic said during an appearance on “Morning in America”.

He and an officer ran more than 200 yards to help him.

“When we got to him, it was horrendous,” said Copic. “He had a bone sticking out of him. Honestly, it looked like he had been through a meat grinder — parts of his muscle were hanging out — it was very difficult to see.”

“The officer told me that if they had not had me there to check, they thought it was farm equipment out in the field.” Copic said. “My full-time job as a truck driver, I immediately noticed it was the chassis of a semi-truck.”

He said the driver kept trying to lay down and close his eyes but Copic kept him awake for about 20 minutes until emergency personnel arrived.

 “We carried him back to the ambulance and I hope he made it,” said Copic. “I didn’t hear anything more from the officer, the emergency officials, but he seemed to be doing better. We got an IV in him and they took him to the local hospital.”

Copic said the work of National Weather Service offices throughout the mid-South helped save countless lives.

“It’s just an absolutely phenomenal job by the Weather Service employees. I could not be more proud of the work they were able to do,” said Copic.

Authorities are still tallying the devastation from Friday’s storms, though they believe the death toll will be lower than initially feared since it appeared many more people escaped a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, than first thought.

Kentucky was the worst-hit by far in the cluster of twisters across several states.

The governor expects the statewide toll to reach at least 50, and at least 14 people are dead in four other states: Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.

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