Authorities ID woman killed while camping at Brushy Creek
MARION COUNTY, TX (KSLA) - Authorities have released the name of the Houston area woman who was killed during a severe storm overnight while camping in East Texas.
Mary Pinney, 40, from Mont Belvieu, Texas, died when she was struck by large tree that fell on the family's tent at Brushy Creek campsite, Marion County, Texas, Sheriff David McKnight said.
The campground is on the south side of Lake O' the Pines about 11 miles west-southwest of Jefferson.
Pinney's husband was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
The couple's three children also were in the tent but were not hurt, the sheriff said.
Pinney is one of two people killed when a line of severe thunderstorms scoured East Texas.
The National Weather Service says another half dozen people were hurt when the storm hit the campground at 11:55 p.m. Saturday.
"Many children and teenagers were present and getting an apparent jump start on next week's spring break," McKnight said. "There were a few more minor and moderately injured that were transported to hospitals by private vehicle. But the exact number has not been determined."
A team from the Weather Service's Shreveport office assessed the damage Sunday then issued its preliminary findings that afternoon.
The severe thunderstorm tracked southeast across Lake O' the Pines, producing a swath of straight-line wind damage across the south side of the lake.
The majority of the damage occurred at Brushy Creek, where numerous trees were snapped or uprooted by an 80-mph to 90-mph downburst.
Several trees landed on campers, tents and vehicles.
Campers described the storms as "hellish" and something out of a "nightmare" when they moved through.
"It was loud; I'm talking about loud. Me and her were just screaming and we could barely hear each other," camper James Foster said.
At one point, he added, their camper trailer tilted sideways.
"About 10 to 12 degrees and I thought, 'It's gone.' And it came back down, hit the ground furiously and bounced.
"It rattled everything in there."
Brushy Creek was at capacity, meaning all of its more than 60 campsites were in use, when the storms moved through, authorities said.
The Weather Service reports that nearly 238 campers were registered at the time.
Weather Service surveyors have determined that the damage at Brushy Creek was caused by straight-line winds of up to 80 to 90 mph.
The storms also knocked over a number of trees and produced large hail.
Authorities are advising people against entering Brushy Creek campgrounds.
Due to extensive damage, the area is likely to be closed for months.
"Debris cleanup and damage assessment will continue for several more days, along with removal of the numerous damaged RVs and vehicles," Marion County's sheriff said.
A park ranger at Brushy Creek says the campground will remain closed indefinitely. Whether it will reopen for the summer remains to be seen since the storm damage is extensive, he said.
Patricia Nall said her brother Leon Foster, of Longview, Texas, and his wife rode out the storm at Brushy Creek campground in their camper. "They are very thankful to be alive."
In Longview, police say a 41-year-old man died after a tree fell on his mobile at Flamingo Mobile Home Park during the storms.
His 12-year-old son was rescued and taken to a hospital. The extent of his injuries is not immediately known.
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