DUETTE -- For more than 25 minutes, the next-door neighbors of a Duette couple whose mobile home was picked up by a tornado early Sunday detailed the terrifying scene in a 911 call, made just moments after the home was dropped about 100 yards away.
Stephen Wilson, 58; Kelli "Kade" Wilson, 51; their son Stephen Wilson, 38; and four grandchildren were all inside the mobile home when the tornado hit early Sunday morning. The elder Wilson, who had just celebrated his birthday Thursday, died instantly when the mobile home was dropped, while his wife managed to get out from under the debris. She later died of a heart attack at Blake Medical Center.
The younger Wilson, his two sons, daughter and niece were all hospitalized for nonlife-threatening injuries.
At 3:58 a.m. Sunday, a 911 call came into the Manatee County Emergency Communications Center from a man who identified himself as the Wilsons' next door neighbor.
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"We just had a tornado out here in Duette. We have a mobile home knocked off its blocks and one woman that is injured," the man states. "The neighbor's son just came walking down here with his head all bloody."
The 911 call dispatcher asks exactly what had happened. The caller says a tornado had hit, hurting the family and knocking down all the power lines in the area.
"These people have a double-wide and it's decimated," the man says. "We are pulling up now and there is nothing there. It's leveled...
"We have the man's son
in the car with us. He can't find his dad."
The younger Stephen Wilson then briefly gets on the phone. The dispatcher asks him about his mother.
"She can't breathe," Wilson says. "A tornado blew the house over."
He confirms she is awake but then hesitates. The dispatcher lets him know help is on the way.
"I'm bleeding all over the place," Wilson says. "I'm trying to find my dad right now."
As she cautions him not to put himself in danger, the neighbor gets back on the phone.
"Kade don't move. The lady said don't move. Don't move," the man urges.
The plea is immediately followed by distant groaning or shouting. The neighbor continues to plead with her not to move.
"I think he just found his father," the man says to the dispatcher. "No, it doesn't look good. Just tell the cops and the ambulance to hurry please."
The dispatcher assures him help is on the way.
"He ain't awake or breathing," he says. "Oh, no! Poor Steve."
He shouts over to his wife and passes the phone to her.
"The house is in the road," she says. "No, we aren't in the house, we're in the ditch, that's where the house is now. The whole house is gone."
She also pleads, asking where help is and tells the dispatcher Kade Wilson keeps trying to get up.
"Her husband is laying next to her. He's dead," she says. "There's kids screaming at the barn and I don't know."
The dispatcher questions her about who else might have been in the home. She tells the dispatcher she hadn't known the son had been there, but the couple's children and grandchildren often spent weekends with them.
"My husband is walking across to the kids now. They're screaming," she says. "This is just, horrible."
The woman continues to describe the scene of terror as the rain and strong winds are intermittently starting up and stopping. She tells the dispatcher that the entire area has lost power so she can't see any other damage. The couple's son had managed to get the children to the barn.
"I can get back to my house, but I just don't desire to go back to a mobile home after this," the woman says. "This is scary, their whole house is gone. There is nothing left.
"He's buried and she's on the ground."
The dispatcher tries to reassure the woman, keeping her on the line in case anything changes.
"I just don't know what's taking them so long, we have the Duette fire department," the woman says.
Duette Fire Rescue, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and paramedics are on their way, the dispatcher tells her, adding they are likely encountering lots of debris trying to get there.
The dispatcher whispers to someone else that the caller is in a vehicle with its flashing hazard lights on, next to the patient.
"I don't see her but I see him. He's holding a blanket over her, with a flashlight. They're sitting up," the neighbor says, her voice becoming more noticeably fearful. "Now this is just unbelievable, now the winds are picking up again. This is scaring me to death."
As the dispatcher continues to try to comfort her, the woman spots headlights, and then the flashing emergency lights. After the 25 minute, 30 second call, help is in sight, but she says they are slowly coming down the road.
"Winds are picking up again. Surely a second one is going to hit? Now the kids are running out with my husband. Something is going on here, my truck is rocking," the woman says. "They are running to the fire truck."
The woman tells the dispatcher her husband is coming back to their truck, but then he returns to the ditch where Kade Wilson is, because the responders have not gotten to her yet.
"I'm going to let you go so you can talk to -- " the dispatcher starts to say as the line is abruptly disconnected.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.