‘Jesus, please help me’: Woman survives after tree falls on home, pinning her

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A massive tree split a home in Gaston County on Wednesday, pinning a woman underneath. She told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon about how she was somehow able to escape.

Gaston County is one of two counties where EF-1 tornadoes left a trail of destruction Wednesday.


Tonya Reeves told Lemon as the wind started picking up during one of the storms, a tree was uprooted in her yard on Dallas Stanley Highway. She was inside the house when the tree fell directly on top of her bedroom.

“It almost seemed like slow motion,” she said. “I wound up flat on my back and I was pinned to the floor.”

Reeves said normally, she’d have been asleep because she works third shift. But her 19-year-old son had woken her to ask her for help finding a jar of mayonnaise. Suddenly, the tree was on top of her.

Her son made it out of the kitchen and started looking for her and panicked.

Reeves told Lemon she was pinned underneath the tree for 10 minutes. The branches were slowly applying pressure on her chest, keeping her on the ground and unable to move. The weight was becoming unbearable and she was worried the situation would end in the worst possible way.

“‘God, please don’t let me die like this and leave my son with that to live with,’” she said.

Reeves said she sent her son to the fire station across the street. That was when the rain suddenly picked up.

“I said ‘Jesus, please help me.’ And it started pouring down rain,” she said. “And I think the fact that I got soaking wet, pinned up against the floor was what it took to pull myself out, slide sideways.”

She was able to pull up through the branches and a firefighter helped her get out.

Reeves and her son, who has PTSD from another traumatic event, are both trying to move past what happened.

The family, which includes another of Reeves’ sons, was renting the home and is currently trying to find somewhere else to stay. Though Reeves and her sons won’t celebrate Mother’s Day at home, they will be together.

Reeves said she is grateful for the firefighter, for her son, and the scores of people who saw the damage and stopped to pray with and encourage her and her family.

(WATCH BELOW: 2 tornadoes with 110 mph winds hit Gaston, Cleveland counties, NWS says)

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