Jeffrey Hunter: Tornado victim texts goodbye to mom

An Arkansas man was killed when a devastating tornado ripped through his neighborhood last week.
But before he died he took the time to tell his mother goodbye.

"First he said, 'Mama, I'm so scared,'" said Regina Wood, Jeffrey Hunter's mom.

All Wood could think to do was tell her son, Jeffrey Hunter, he would be OK.

"He knew how bad it was. They said it's going to be a direct hit," said Wood.

From her home in Beebe 20 miles away from her son in Vilonia, Ark., Regina could only update Jeffrey through text on where the EF-4 tornado was headed.

It was headed straight for him and he knew it, telling his mom goodbye.

"I have a text on my phone as the tornado was hitting "Goodbye mama," says Wood.

Minutes later a few homes down from Jeffrey on Clover Ridge Dr., Lyman Watkins had to crawl out from the closet he, his wife and five dogs were sheltering in.

"All you could hear was horns going off and people hollering help, help," says Watkins.

It didn't take long for Watkins to find someone.

"I made my way, he was at that house right there," said Watkins.

Lying there unconscious on the ground was Regina's son. She hadn't heard anything from him since his last message.

"I kept saying are you okay? Are you okay? Let me know. Let me know. No answer," Wood recalled.

Hunter wasn't the only person to die in his Vilonia neighborhood. There are flags up for each one of the victims.

But despite the terror of losing her only son, Regina is comforted in the thought that Jeffrey, in the midst of panic and fright, thought to tell his mom goodbye.

Funeral services for Hunter will be held Saturday.


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