LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When tornadoes ripped through southern Indiana 10 years ago, WDRB News reporter Lawrence Smith was caught in the middle of the storm in Henryville, taking shelter in a gas station.
Smith has since moved on from WDRB to work for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, but he came back to the station to share memories of March 2, 2012, with Chief Meteorologist Marc Weinberg. They drove back to the gas station this week as Smith relived the memory.
Smith had only been on the job at WDRB for two weeks when he was assigned to cover severe weather. He and photojournalist John Hunter drove up Interstate 65 from Louisville in anticipation of possible tornadoes.
As Smith and Hunter got off the interstate in Henryville, storms were already bearing down on them. Smith recalled seeing two gas stations as they exited: a Shell station and a Marathon across the street.
They chose the Marathon station to wait out the storm. Smith said the Shell station was later destroyed by the storm.
"When we got there, we pulled up into the gas station, and immediately, someone was knocking on our car window saying, 'it's coming! it's coming!'" Smith recalled. "We looked off to our left, and what we saw was the storm coming right at us."
He said they huddled in the gas station with several people as the tornado passed, shaking the building the entire time. The lights went out and the store started shaking. Smith said there wasn't time to be afraid.
"To be honest, we were too busy, too adrenaline-pumped to be scared," Smith said in the days after the storm. "We were more concerned about making sure we were rolling (on video) and getting the storm coming in. And as it comes toward us, at the last second it veers off, goes across the street and hits the gas station -- the second option, the other gas station we could have gone to -- and leveled that station."
"Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt there, but we were just stunned when we came outside and saw what was left."
Smith said nearby apartment buildings were leveled, and he saw people from that apartment complex being taken out on stretchers.
The tornado didn't spare their vehicle, though. The windshield and side rear-view mirror of the WDRB live truck were smashed, but they were able to drive the truck back to Louisville.
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