Retired Tulsa Officer Helps Victims As Tornado Rips Through Tushka

Friday, April 15th 2011, 6:57 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A retired Tulsa police officer was driving back from Dallas last night and went through Tushka just as the tornados hit. He shot video of the storm, and then helped look for victims afterward.

Pat Calhoun was on the phone with his wife, who was in the storm shelter because of Tulsa's storms, when he drove right up on the tornados that hit Tushka.

After 24 years as a cop, he was immediately back in police mode and helping people.

Pat was driving north on highway 69 Thursday night just coming into Tushka when he saw the wall cloud and started shooting video.

He saw twisters beginning to form and drop down on his right. But then he saw people pulling over and standing on top of their cars, looking the other way.

"Then, I noticed off to my left, the funnel," he said.

He pulled over and stopped taping. He watched the tornado, which was a quarter of a mile away, cross the highway, then Pat began driving again and quickly came up on a semi on its side.

"Jumped out of the car and went running up to him. He was in the process of climbing out the front windshield at the time," Pat said.

He was fine, but Pat heard yelling and screaming, so he grabbed his first aid kit and ran up the hill. He found a man coming up out of a creek with a gash on his arm.

He told Pat he'd been inside a mobile home moments earlier. He said he heard the tornado, felt the pressure change and ran--a move that undoubtedly saved his life.

"He hightailed it out of there and ran and jumped into the creek," Pat said.

Next, Pat found a young woman in her 20s coming out of a flattened house holding her dog in her arms, covered in insulation. Her brick fireplace ended up on top of her car.

"They ran into the bathroom and jumped into the tub. She was hiding in the bathtub with the dog in her arms," Pat said.

Pat says everyone was very shaken up, but the ones he saw had minor injuries or none at all. On the way home, he realized how lucky he'd been.

"You start playing through your mind, had I not stopped for gas, had I not stopped to eat," he said.

Pat says by the time he got to Atoka, they already had bulldozers out clearing the road. He was impressed how fast they were working after the storm.

04/14/2011 Related Story: Sisters Killed, Power Out After Tornado In Tushka