Tornado tossed mom, 2 sons from their Granbury home as it was destroyed

Posted Saturday, May. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Slowly, she inched forward, her pedicured feet swollen, draped in a light blue hospital gown and green pants.

Bruises and cuts covered Christy Green’s face, and a deep red gash stretched across her forehead. She wore a neck brace, which will remain in place six weeks.

In a sometimes wavering voice, she spoke with reporters Saturday from John Peter Smith Hospital, just days after a ferocious tornado leveled her Granbury home and ripped Green and her two sons from a bedroom closet.

Green, who was thrown into the air, suffered a fractured neck, broken right knee and badly bruised left ear. Doctors also found bleeding on her brain.

“I am still in shock. I don’t think it has really hit me yet,” said Green, 41, who has lived in Granbury for 16 years. “You can’t even imagine.”

Green recalled watching the weather reports on television Wednesday night with her sons, Brandon Whitehead, 21, and Dillon Whitehead, 17, at their home in Rancho Brazos Estates, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Dillon, who plans to study meteorology next year at Texas A&M University, predicted the storm would pass quickly.

As the tornado approached, Green grabbed Rufus, her 5-pound terrier, and took cover in her bedroom closet. Soon, both boys joined her. Brandon said he loved her.

“We could hear it coming. It was like thunder that wouldn’t stop,” Green said. “We heard snapping and breaking. It was so loud.”

The closet door flew open, and the tornado yanked her oldest son, Brandon, into the air.

Green’s body twisted and bent, and she began to pray.

“Please let this be over. I can’t take this anymore,” she remembers thinking. “I asked God, ‘Is this really the way I’m going to die?’”

Sent airborne out of the closet herself, Green landed in mud almost waist-deep. She climbed out of the muck and ran to a neighbor’s house that was still standing. There she spotted Brandon. Over and over, she screamed Dillon’s name, not knowing whether he was alive. Minutes later, he appeared with a neighbor.

Green could barely walk and could not move her right arm. Dillon broke his foot and had cuts on the back of his head and on his lip. Brandon had cuts on the top and back of his head.

A neighbor gave Green a pair of flip-flops so she wouldn’t cut her feet on the debris. Together, the family hobbled three blocks to an American Legion post to get help.

Green was one of 11 patients taken to JPS Hospital early Thursday morning. After she arrived, hospital workers spent two hours trying to brush heavy mud and bits of debris from her long, dark blonde hair. Even now, some mud remains.

Three patients injured in the tornado remain at JPS, hospital spokeswoman Kris Newcomer said. The condition of one is listed as serious, the other two as good.

On Saturday, residents of the tornado-ravaged neighborhood were allowed in for the first time to survey the damage. Green’s friends and family planned to comb through the area to salvage any belongings. Friends already found some family photographs at a car dealership 3 miles away.

Rufus, her dog, is still missing.

Green’s home destroyed, she and her family plan to stay with a friend in Granbury.

Within the next week or two, she hopes to return to her job as a medical assistant at Huguley Memorial Medical Center.

After Green talked to reporters Saturday, a nurse wheeled her out of JPS, and then a friend, Akira Lane, helped her into a car. Slowly, they pulled away, Green still wearing the hospital gown and green pants, the only clothing she owns.

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056 Twitter: @sarahbfw

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