Shortly after the death of Jerry Kellar early Friday morning, multiple agencies throughout McLean County went to every known campsite to make sure no one else had the same fate. And what they found was nothing short than a lot of damage.
“We’ve identified about 30 campers, plus or minus a few, that were damaged or overturned by these winds,” said Lieutenant Rick Richard of the McLean County Sheriff’s Department.
Just around Heckers Lake, nearly 10 campers were overturned, some completely destroyed.
But there were a select few that made it out without a scratch.
“All 5 of the campers in our group right now made it. We’re really lucky compared to some of the rest of the people,” said Jordan Lang of Fessenden, North Dakota. And the experience was once in a lifetime.
Lang said, “It sounded like a train coming through. It’s just insane.” And the decision whether or not to stay in the campers was made in minutes.
“Well we just figured we should probably get out of the campers before they go over like all the other ones out here. It was a tough decision,” he said.
Although their campers made it, it was a smart decision to leave. Lt. Richard says to be aware of approaching severe weather and if possible, get to a sturdy building as fast as possible.
He added, “Material things can be replaced. As far as our personal safety, sometimes flight is not necessarily a bad thing.”
And as for the upcoming holiday weekend, many of these campsites throughout McLean County will be closed.
“We just ask that those campers be cognizant of that and be respectful for the loss some of these folks have experienced. Most likely these sites will be remained closed throughout the Fourth of July weekend, which I know may be a hindrance for some folks but we have to look at the bigger picture of what some of these folks have went though,” said Lieutenant Richard.
Their number one goal is to protect these people’s property as much as possible, and assist in the clean-up.
There were two other injuries reported as a result of the severe weather. We are told they are not life-threatening.