One dead after Perryville tornado; dozens of homes destroyed

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Picking up the pieces in Perryville. A tornado roared into town Tuesday night. The twister that carved a path of destruction across the community. The severe storm leaves at least one person dead.  Authorities say dozens of homes have been destroyed.

The twister hit about 8 p.m., carving out 13-mile damage path around Perryville. Sergeant Al Nothum with the Missouri Highway Patrol says one man was killed when the car he was driving on I-55 was picked up by the tornado and rolled over several times. The victim of the fatal crash was identified as Travis M. Koenig, 24, from Perryville.

Nothum says big rigs were blown over on the interstate and a dozen cars from a nearby salvage yard were picked up by the twister and thrown onto the highway. The interstate was completely shut down for some time while crews got the cars off the interstate.

In addition to the one death, authorities say at least 10 others were hurt. We're told none of the injuries are life threatening, although two people were rescued from rubble.

Authorities said the tornado sirens provided residents enough of a warning to retreat into their basements for the duration of the storm.

Rescue crews from the St. Louis area were called in to help search through debris. At this point, authorities believe everyone has been accounted for.

Those crews called off their initial search and rescue tactic around 3 a.m. because of another incoming storm. They resumed at first daylight.

Approximately 60 families were were affected by the tornado, as most homes were either heavily damaged or destroyed outright. The American Red Cross is assisting those families with accommodations for the next few days.

The damage assessment is ongoing, according to first responders. Residents were told the biggest danger now facing people in the area is downed power lines.