Trees block state Route 11, woman injured

EAST LIVERPOOL – A storm that swept through the southern part of the county just before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday left a wide swath of destruction and what some emergency personnel said appeared to be the path of a tornado.

Firefighters and police from Liverpool Township responded to a report of a tree across both southbound lanes of state Route 11 and found a pickup truck had been struck by one of the trees that fell from the hillside.

The truck, driven by Kelly Meadows, 54, Stratton, had its windshield shattered and a large dent in the front hood area, and a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, “She saw the tree coming down and knew it was going to hit her and she couldn’t do anything.”

Meadows was able to walk from her truck to a cruiser while she waited for an ambulance to arrive, and the trooper said she was transported to East Liverpool City Hospital just as a precautionary measure but she did not suffer any major injuries.

The torrential rain that toppled the trees, roots and all, continued as officers helped Lifeteam ambulance crews heft the gurney over the concrete median wall from the northbound lane so they could reach Meadows because southbound traffic was stopped due to the tree covering the roadway.

As Calcutta and Glenmoor fire departments blocked and re-routed southbound traffic away from the fallen trees, Liverpool Township firefighters and an employee from the Ohio Department of Transportation cut up the trees and removed them from the roadway.

All told, traffic was delayed for about an hour but then was able to use one lane southbound as tree cutting efforts continued on the right lane.

Liverpool Township firefighters and police also responded to numerous reports of fallen trees and wires, particularly in the Dixonville area, where police Chief Jayson Jackson said a wide path of twisted trees in the Cheval Street area was indicative of a tornado, although that had not been determined as of press time.

Jackson said the path was easily 80 feet wide and showed trees twisted and broken off all the way toward Forsyth Place. He said a resident there had watched out his window as the trees were “spinning like mad.”

Fay Davis of Dixonview Drive was sitting in her home when she heard a large booming noise and then two more, admitting the noise made her scream in fear.

As it turns out, three huge pine trees that a neighbor said had been growing in Davis’ backyard since the 1950s had been twisted off their trunks and thrown onto Davis’ house, with the branches of one going through the roof and her bathroom ceiling.

Her niece commended some friends, including off-duty city firefighter Jeff Kreefer and Jeff Boyd for coming to Davis’ aid by cutting up and removing the trees from her roof.

Firefighters continued throughout the evening, removing trees and blocking streets where lines were down until just after 9:30 p.m., with initial reports indicating electric service was still out in several areas, although AEP had arrived on the scene.

East Liverpool also “got hammered pretty good” by the storm, according to Assistant Fire Chief Tim Walker, who said they answered 10 calls starting at 5:17 p.m., primarily regarding trees down.

Most of the trees were in yards, but Walker said firefighters had to wrap a chain around one that fell across Parkway and pull it off the road.

Although a heavy rainfall and hail described by one St. Clair Township police officer as being “as big as golf balls” accompanied the high winds, Walker said the department did not respond to any calls of high water.

Thompson Park was hit particularly hard by the storm, according to Superintendent J.C. Blackhurst, who said numerous huge trees had fallen, blocking park roads.

He closed the park gates early to prevent traffic from hitting any of the downed trees, and a section of Parkway between the park’s two entrances was also blocked to traffic due to a downed tree.