Iowa Deputy Gets Caught in Deadly Tornado While Attempting Rescue

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Deputy got caught in a twister as he rushed to help evacuate campers from a site in Iowa. Sgt. Todd Dollen caught the frightening episode on his body camera and posted the footage online. The video shows trees and leaves falling on the hood of his patrol car as he radioed to colleagues, telling them he intended to pull over and wait as a felled tree had blocked his passage. 

Mr. Dollen was en route to a section of the Hacklebarney Campground in the southwestern region of the Hawkeye State. He managed to move some people to a safe shelter but got caught up traveling from one part of the campsite to another. The officer made it through the exercise unharmed, and his colleagues successfully reached the Hacklebarney campers. 

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds declared a state of emergency when tornadoes ripped through Iowa on May 22 and 23. Five people died, and dozens were injured in what police described as “devastation.” The deaths occurred in the town of Greenfield, around 40 miles from Des Moines, which was particularly badly hit. 

Greenfield is home to around 2,000 people, many of whom lost their homes to the tornado. Kimberly Ergish, who lives in the town with her husband, told reporters that her house was gone, and only a field of debris remained. After rummaging through the wreckage, looking for photos and irreplaceable mementos, she said she was still in shock, and the reality had not yet sunk in. 

The National Weather Service said an EF-3 tornado had smashed into the small rural community. These tornadoes carry winds at a speed of between 136–165 mph and are classified as “severe damage” events. They uproot almost all trees they encounter, turn over and carry large vehicles, and can reduce smaller buildings to rubble. In April, an EF-3 ripped through Oklahoma, killing four people and destroying much of the towns of Sulphur and Marietta.