TORNADO: Mom Recounts How Son Survived Twister

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

A woman who was inside her home with her young son when it was destroyed by a tornado last Saturday night is speaking out about her terrifying experience.

23-month-old Evan Salerno remains at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, recovering from his injuries. The toddler has a broken femur, three broken ribs, a cracked pelvis and several other serious injuries.

His family says it is a miracle that he continues to get better, but it's how he received those injuries that still has his mother in disbelief.

Kelsey Salerno says she was inside her home at Camp Lejeune April 16th when it got pitch black outside. She had heard of the possibility of tornadoes in the area, so she went upstairs to get her son and was planning to then head to the bathroom.

"I was leaning over the crib to pick him up and just barely touching him when it sounded like a freight train was outside of my house and I looked over just in time to see his window shatter and just glass was flying everywhere," said the mother. "I got blown to the corner of his room, I just looked up and the next thing I know I'm tumbling around...I can't really feel anything, I know that I'm spinning and all I see around me is gray."

At that point Salerno says she blacked out. "I woke up in my backyard and I was trapped underneath a wall, it had me from my calf down. I couldn't get up, no one around me, I screamed for help."

The tornado had lifted the entire second story of her home, with both her and her son inside, and dumped it into their backyard. "Just absolute terror," said Salerno. "I just kept thinking it had to be a dream, that nothing like this could have ever happened, I was trying to just look around and not see anything but just pieces of my house."

Salerno says she then ripped her legs from underneath the wall that was on top of her, called 911, and frantically went to find her son. Neighbors came to help. Soon after a neighbor found Evan. "He was underneath his crib, the crib ended up going over him, kind of like a cage."

Which she believes saved his life. While Salerno had some teeth knocked out, was bruised and needed stitches, she says she's grateful they both survived. Salerno also says she wants to thank everyone in the community who has reached out to help her family and give them support.

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