90-year-old killed when home destroyed by tornado

One woman is dead and five others were injured after an EF-3 tornado tore through the Hazel Green area overnight.
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 12:48 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF/Gray News) – A 90-year-old woman was killed and five others were injured after an EF-3 tornado ripped through a community in Alabama this weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado touched down in northern Madison County and southern Lincoln County Friday night into Saturday morning.

Ovie Lasater, 90, died when her home was destroyed by the tornado, coroner Tyler Berryhill said.

Authorities with the National Weather Service said the tornado is estimated to have peaked at 160 mph and demolished two homes in the area.

According to Don Webster with Huntsville Emergency Medical Services Inc., of the five people injured, three were taken to the hospital with critical injuries and two people were treated on the scene.

Lasater’s relative Ashley Martin and her household were spared after riding out a direct hit in their storm shelter.

“The initial reaction was just complete shock. Just trying to figure out what was still here and what wasn’t. Who was still here and who wasn’t,” she told WAFF.

Martin said it took the body weight of at least four people to hold the storm shelter’s door shut while the tornado went through.

Nine people were barricaded inside the shelter when winds as fast as 160 mph went right over their heads.

Martin said the family waited at least 15 minutes before coming out to see if the coast was clear.

“Just the noises we heard outside was enough to know it was bad. We didn’t want to open the door any sooner than we had to, we wanted to wait it out and make sure everything went by,” Martin said, adding the whole experience has been overwhelming.