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2 Dead In Illinois Storm

A violent windstorm ripped through a trailer park early Thursday, killing two people and injuring more than a dozen others, officials said.

Fourteen mobile homes and two houses were either damaged or destroyed, including one trailer found wrapped around a tree, its axles facing skyward. Downed power lines and toppled trees littered the trailer park near Centralia, about 60 miles east of St. Louis.

"It's just mass destruction," Centralia city manager Gail Simer said. "Mobile homes are just rubble, there are twisted tin sheds and storage buildings. There's nothing left."

Public works director Don Copple said police reports showed two deaths and 15 injuries from the storm. The National Weather Service could not immediately confirm if it was a tornado.

One 15-year-old girl crawled out from under the couch she had been sleeping on after her family's mobile home was blown about 50 yards and flipped on top of another.

"The trailer wasn't there," said the girl's mother, Cindy Estes, who arrived home just after the storm hit. She said her daughter suffered only a bump on the head.

Trailer park owner Clifford Meskil identified the two people killed as his daughter, Pam Vaughn, 37, and her former brother-in-law, George Vaughn. They lived in neighboring trailers, he said.

Wednesday evening, another possible tornado damaged at least 25 homes in southeastern Ohio and injured three people, including two truckers whose tractor-trailer rigs were blown over, authorities said.

"I knew I was going to be in for a ride," said trucker Michael Belsches, 41, who suffered cuts and bruises. "You could see it throwing trees and brush off the ground. It was like blasting stuff."

In Missouri, flash flooding from storms Tuesday and Wednesday left two people daad and two others missing.

Cristen Bell, 17, was killed in southwest Missouri when she got out of her stalled car late Tuesday and was pushed under the vehicle by rushing water, officials said. John E. Nelson, 47, died Tuesday night when his pickup truck washed away in flooding near Joplin. Another man in that area was last seen near a boat ramp Wednesday night, authorities said.

In Lincoln County, about 50 miles north of St. Louis, 19-year-old Tim Licktieg was missing after he jumped into the Cuivre River on a dare Monday night and never made it shore, authorities said Thursday.

The search for his body was on hold Thursday morning because the river rose overnight and the current was strong.

"At this point, we're going strictly for recovery," said Bob Shramek, a fire chief from Silex who was helping coordinate the rescue effort. "It's hard. It's taking a toll on quite a few people, losing a young man out of our community."

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