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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Pekin man opened up to WAVE 3 in a bedside interview at University of Louisville Hospital after he was thrown across a field by a tornado.
When the EF3 twister swept through the small town, Jason Miller tried to provide cover for a family of five. They all laid down in a hallway together. The family, including a toddler found crying in a nearby field, did not survive.
Emergency responders found Miller several yards away still conscious. Picked up, dropped and now propped in a hospital bed, Miller is recovering from 5 broken ribs, a broken back, deep cuts near his shoulder that nearly severed his arm and a shattered arm broken in several places.
It's only been a few days since Jason Miller's life spiraled out of control. He describes the moment he walked outside and told his neighbors to find shelter from their trailer.
"I said, look, look! Doesn't that look like a funnel cloud! I looked over and his girlfriend just freaked out and grabbed her kids and ran back in the house and I said get out of there. Get over to my house," Miller said.
His neighbors, 21-year-old Joe Babcock and 20-year-old Moriah Brough, rushed into his double-wide mobile home.
"As soon as that house ripped up, I immediately blacked out. There was a point in there, I don't know why or how it's possible, I didn't bang my head but I do specifically remember opening my eyes up there and looking down and thinking I'm 50 feet up. I'm like, 'wow I'm in a tornado.' "
Miller huddled in his home with the couple and their children, Jaydon ,2, Kendall, 2-months, and 15-month-old Angel.
"Moriah had the little baby girl in her car seat. She ran straight to the house. She was terrified. I was trying to get everybody close together as I could. I just started praying. That first hit, I just felt it," Miller said.
Miller and the family then felt the house shake and rattle. "At that moment, the fear hit me in my heart. I just ran over there and fell down. I was telling somebody earlier, I laid on top of Angel. Moriah had the car seat. Joe was holding his boy leaning up against the wall. I said, 'Joe, get down, get down! He laid flat on the ground. I said put your arms out. I didn't tell everybody to hold hands but I did pray."
"I was just saying it was going to be alright guys, it'll be alright. Just started praying. And boom we just popped out,"
Little Angel was found crying in the field. She would suffer from serious brain injuries and he family ended life support Sunday.
"Still just kills me. I don't know why somebody else couldn't make it. Why me?"
Heartbroken and bruised, he's hopeful for a full recovery to get over his scars from the storm, but it's what's on the inside that hurts the most.
"It really didn't hit me until this morning about how you have six people in a house. Only one alive. That little girl. I think everyone was rooting for that little girl to make it," Miller said.
"Whatever the reason, there's a purpose I'm still here."
The family set up a fund to help offset medical expenses. Visit helpjason.org to contribute.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jason Miller, the neighbor of a family of five who was killed during a tornado Friday, talks about the moments leading up to the tornado, his effort to try and help save the family
12 East Delano Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36105