Auto mechanic survives Waverly tornado in bathroom

Posted at 10:04 PM, May 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-23 23:31:00-04

WAVERLY, Va. (WTVR) -- Two communities southeast of Richmond are cleaning up after the National Weather Service confirmed two separate EF-0 tornadoes touched down there Thursday evening.

The NWS confirmed Friday tornadoes hit the Town of Waverly and the City of Prince George.

Anthony Jaramillo was working at Van Cleef Auto Parts when he received a tornado warning alert on his phone.

“The doors were just pounding in and out, in and out,” Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo ran into the bathroom, crouched down, and prayed.

“ I was like, 'Oh God please, if you’re going to take me out, at least you’re taking me out with something that I love to do,” Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo escaped unharmed, but the tornado damaged the shop where he works, along with a neighboring business.

“Trees were all over the place, I went out on 460, traffic was backed up, people were getting out of their cars,” Jaramillo said.

Waverly damage

Lillie Yancy, who lives across the street from where a tree fell on her neighbor’s car, was celebrating her 81st birthday when shingles started popping off her roof.

“Thanks be to God that I lived to see this,” Yancy said.

Her neighbor, Maurice Smith, spent the night in his bathtub with his wife and son.

“If anything would happen, I could just cover them up,” Smith said.

The three could see the storm outside through a skylight in the bathroom ceiling.

“At that moment the tree was swaying really heavily. I thought it was going to snap, but it didn’t,” Smith said.

A moment in time that all three described as terrifying, but one that brought everyone together in a small town together in prayer.

“It didn’t matter about the material things, but just sparing our lives,” Smith said.