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Tragedy Remembered: Blue Ash tornado claimed 4 lives

BLUE ASH, Ohio (John Lomax) -- Take a drive through Blue Ash or Montgomery and it could be hard to believe that a powerful tornado swept through that region 15 years ago Wednesday.
    
It leveled buildings and caused millions of dollars in damage.  The winds built to deadly force before dawn on Wednesday 15 years ago.  The F-4 tornado raked a quarter mile swath of terror and tragedy across the Blue Ash and Montgomery areas.

The storm was horrifying.  The destruction devastating but the losses went far beyond property damage.  Four people died in that storm.  38-year-old Donald Lewis of Blanchester said when the Ohio State Highway Patrol says winds picked his car up off I-275 near Montgomery Road and tossed it into a ditch.

15 minutes later, Blue Ash Police said 40-year-old Charles Smith was killed when winds took his car off I-71 near Pfeiffer Road and slammed it into a noise barrier.  He was on his way to his job at Bob Evans.  His co-workers liked and respected him.

Then there were Lee and Jacqueline Cook who were thrown from their home across from Sycamore High School into an embankment across the street.  They are remembered as loving people.

A reminder that while it might have taken years to repair the millions of dollars in damage done by the tornado, some losses can never be made right.
   
The tornado first touched down in Ripley County, Indiana just after 4 in the morning.  It made its destructive way across the tri-state for nearly two hours before it eventually weakened in Clinton County, Ohio.


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