Tornado Destroys Hundreds of Vehicles

By Mark Geary, Reporter


By Mark Geary

PARKERSBURG -- Tow trucks travel in and out of Parkersburg all day, plucking vehicles out of the debris. Now, a parking lot full of twisted metal and shattered windshields greets everyone who enters the town.

They're lining up the vehicles just outside city limits to make it easier for everyone to file insurance claims.

"My back tires were in my trunk. The top of my roof was smashed down," Parkersburg resident Andy Eggers said.

Hundreds of people have no way to get around or out of town without help from friends or family.

"We've just been borrowing cars and stuff so it's going to be tough," Parkersburg resident Jordan Simon said.

Simons' family lost four cars during the tornado. Now, Simon relies on his friend's ATV to get around.

"It's kind of fun, but it gets old after awhile. I kind of wish I had a car. Then, I could leave town," Simon said.

The nearest gas station is five miles away. So, the teens decided to siphon fuel from their demolished cars.

"It takes forever. It's just not working too good," Eggers said.

Simon said, "We save everything we can."

While the friends pour over their transportation problems, insurance agents pace around, inspecting every vehicle.

Rich Humphrey has already talked to them. He came back to his truck on Wednesday to look for some paperwork.

"I will never recover anywhere near the value of what I lost, but I have my life and I can't put a price on that," Humphrey said.

Living without a vehicle has forced hundreds to shift gears. But, as always, the people of Parkersburg have found a way to keep going.

Some insurance companies are providing rental cars. However, most people seem to be relying on friends and family to get around.

It's hard to say exactly how much insurance companies will pay because everyone's policy is so different.

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