Local Students & Teachers Caught in Severe Storms

CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Wednesday's severe storms that ripped across Ohio still have students and teachers at Davis Creek Elementary talking.

"We had just came back from the Columbus Zoo, and we were stopping for dinner," 5th Grade Teacher Teri Crowder said. "We had just entered Route 23 North coming to Huntington. We had parents watching the news here in Huntington, and they were texting us and letting us know the storm was possibly coming toward us."

The students were right smack in the path that was on high alert for severe storms and tornadoes. In fact, the group even started hearing tornado warning sirens.

"One of the teachers contacted 911 and asked what we should do with a bus full of students," Crowder said. "Mr. Wall was advised we should take shelter where we are."

Everyone was told to run into a nearby fast food restaurant to shelter in place. It's a scenario students had practiced in the past, but was now coming to life with a real-time sense of urgency.

"They learned a good lesson because we didn't need to go through the bad weather," Crowder said. "Because one of our students did go through the bad weather, and he experienced what could have been a tornado right in front of his path."

A.J. Messinger's family hopped in the car, and ran to pick up their son. Little did they know on the drive back, they would come face-to-face with their worst fear. But A.J. Didn't shy away. He grabbed his camera and started snapping pictures and video of would-be tornadoes trying to roar to life.

"I was kind of freaking out, but my mom told me to stay calm, and I did," Messinger said. "In my mind I was saying I got to get these on tape for memories. We were inside the tornado it felt like because there were clouds all around us."

A.J. had two things to worry about: his own family, and the students and teacher he left behind just a few minutes earlier.

"I was very worried," Messinger said. "I thought it would hit the ground and destroy the whole place and I wouldn't like that to happen to them."

Luckily, all involved made it home safely, including A.J. And his family. The teachers say the students did an amazing job in the emergency situation, and credit shelter-in-place training at the school.

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