At least 70 people are feared dead as of Sunday, the New York Times reported. The storm may be the deadliest tornado in the history of the state, when rescue efforts conclude and a final death toll is calculated.
Judge Crick represented the 45th judicial district, which includes McLean and Muhlenberg counties, reports indicate. The name of the 3-year-old child has not been released.
Judge Brian Crick First Named Tornado Victim
Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. confirmed Judge Crick’s death in a post to Twitter Saturday morning.
“We are especially heartbroken to get the news that District Judge Brian Crick, who served McLean and Muhlenberg Counties, lost his life during the storm,” Justice Minton wrote. “This is a shocking loss to his family, his community and the court system, and his family is in our prayers.”
“Our thoughts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy,” he added.
Judge Click’s wife and three children survived the storm, according to local reports. His wife, a 17-year-old son, and a 16-year-old daughter were all treated for minor injuries and were said to be recovering as of Saturday. His youngest child, an 11-year-old boy, was reportedly staying at a friend’s house on Friday night when the storm hit around 12 o’clock.
Muhlenberg County coroner Larry Vincent told Kentucky.com that Judge Crick lived in Bremen, where at least 12 fatalities were reported as of Saturday morning. The ages of the victims there ranged from 5 months to 75 years, per 14 News.
3-Year-Old Boy Among Victims
In Mayfield, a neighbor of the 3-year-old boy who died in Saturday’s storm told local station WLWT-5 that she and her husband saw the child’s family calling for help from beneath the rubble of their destroyed home.
“Like everybody says, it was like a roar and it shifted the house where we were at and almost made us fall into the basement,” said Angela Wheeler. She and her husband, who is on dialysis, didn’t fall into the basement, though their home did collapse. The couple were able to escape through a window, where they saw the boy’s family cry out for rescue personnel, Wheeler said.
Other Mayfield residents told the outlet that their town of 10,000 was devastated by the storm.
“I’ve seen a lot of things in my life from policing to ministry but this is the worst, absolutely the worst,” said Bobby Waldridge, a pastor. “We had a family of five. They were in their house and it was leveled […] They found the wife and the four young boys in the field behind the house.”
The husband was dead in the rubble of the family home, Waldridge said. The woman and her children survived.
“The mother, she was pregnant also and she lost the child,” the pastor added. “A lot of families are not as fortunate as you and I right now being here and just an immense lost of loved ones here.”
Deadly Tornado Wreaks Historic Destruction
The twister tore up more than 200 miles of Kentucky late Friday and early Saturday and may be on pace to become the deadliest tornado in the state’s history. Previously, the most devastating storm recorded there occurred in 1890 and left 76 dead in its wake, according to the National Weather Service.
Currently, the death toll for this week’s twister sits around 70, and Governor Andy Beshear said he expects there to be more than 100 fatalities when the recovery effort concludes.
“This has been the most devastating tornado event in our state’s history,” the governor said in an emergency press conference Saturday.
“And for those that have seen it, what it’s done here in Graves County and elsewhere, it is indescribable. The level of devastation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”