One dead, one hurt during storm

PARKERSBURG – A Worthington Elementary School kindergarten teacher died during the storm on Tuesday, and a 15-year-old girl was injured in City Park by a tree limb that fell on her, officials said.

Suzanne M. Anderson, 63, of Parkersburg died of a heart attack during the severe storm that struck the Mid-Ohio Valley on Tuesday afternoon, said Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

It was unclear on Tuesday evening whether Anderson’s death was caused by the storm, Martin said.

The Wood County Board of Education held a moment of silence for Anderson during its meeting Tuesday night.

John Flint, Wood County Schools superintendent, declined to comment Tuesday evening about Anderson’s death except to confirm that she had died.

Anderson had been at the Wood County Board of Education offices at 13th and Plum streets prior to the storm and left the offices before the storm hit, Martin said.

Anderson was traveling north on Liberty Street when she had a heart attack, Martin said. The vehicle, a silver Honda, came to rest partially on a sidewalk at 20th and Liberty streets, close to a fallen tree, he said.

Officers found the vehicle and Anderson after the storm had passed while assessing damage in the city, Martin said.

An off-duty member of the Parkersburg Fire Department assisted the officer with attempts to revive Anderson, but they were unsuccessful, Martin said. Paramedics took Anderson to Camden Clark Medical Center. Her death was confirmed a short time later, Martin said.

No other vehicles were involved and no other property was damaged during this incident, Martin said.

Attempts to locate witnesses failed and the department remains unable to conclude whether the storm had anything to do with Anderson’s death, Martin said.

A 15-year-old girl was injured at City Park during the storm, when she took shelter under a tree between a shelter and the police station.

The girl, whose name was not released, was a Wood County Recreation Commission summer program employee who was waiting for her ride home after the summer program had ended for the day, said Cecilia Hardman, playground program coordinator.

“The wind struck and the branch came down,” said George Strawhecker, 17, who said he was the injured girl’s friend. As soon as he saw the tree hit the girl, he screamed her name and went to rescue her, Strawhecker said.

“I went in and grabbed hold of her and dragged her into the guy’s bathroom,” he said.

The two took shelter for the duration of the storm inside the men’s bathroom, Strawhecker said.

Strawhecker was uncertain where the branch struck the girl, and he described her as unresponsive for approximately 10 seconds at one point while moving her to the bathroom.

The girl’s injuries were described as a possible concussion and several scratches to her back and shoulders, Hardman said.

The City Park is one of seven sites throughout the county where the summer program takes place, said Hardman. The injured girl was working on a work permit through the board of education for her first summer job, she said.

The girl’s condition was unavailable Tuesday evening.