6-year-old in critical condition after being thrown by tornado, dangling from tree
Family of four, including baby, hospitalized; pregnant mother suffered miscarriage
SALADO, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) - An entire Central Texas family is in the hospital with critical injuries after an EF-3 tornado destroyed their mobile home Tuesday and flung them hundreds of feet away.
The most critically injured is Miriam Rios, 6, a girl found unconscious and dangling upside-down from a tree where the wind had tossed her hundreds of yards from her house. Her pregnant mother, Vanessa Rios, suffered a miscarriage.
The Rios family – including the mom, dad and their two children – were in their mobile home Tuesday night when the tornado warnings came in. The children’s uncle, Stephen Perez, said the family first tried to drive off, but when hail began to fall, they retreated back to their mobile home.
The situation quickly worsened. The tornado with peak winds of 165 mph tore the family’s home to shreds and flung each member of the family in a different direction.
Father Joel Rios was thrown to one side, and the mother landed on the other side. The couple’s 1-year-old, Ezra, landed somewhere in the fields nearby. Six-year-old Miriam was flung into a tree.
“(Their mom) remembers waking up, rolling over on her side, and seeing her daughter in a tree and she can’t get up or do anything. She just rolled over and cried,” Perez said.
After the entire family was rushed to the hospital, they learned the mother had miscarried.
Since then, Perez said members of the family have been in and out of various surgeries meant to repair broken pelvic bones and address spinal cord injuries.
Perez said baby Ezra miraculously suffered the mildest injuries and should be released from the hospital soon.
While the family is grateful for the baby’s health, they are still in awe of just how much they’ve lost. Miriam, a first grader, was set to celebrate her seventh birthday on Saturday.
The Rios family also lost their house and everything in it.
“It’s just the foundation that’s left. There’s absolutely nothing,” Perez said. “And (my sister) was really proud about that home.”
Community members have begun various efforts to help the family with medical bills and with their needs once they are released from the hospital. Perez has created a GoFundMe page to help his family rebuild.
In total, 23 people were injured and 12 hospitalized after the storm, according to Bell County Judge David Blackburn.
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