Mom hospitalized protecting her 10-month-old daughter during the Valley View tornado

Veronica Bowers is hospitalized after a tornado tore through her home. Her work, the Shell gas station travel center, was also destroyed.

VALLEY VIEW, Texas — The power went out. The sky turned dark. 

It was late on Saturday night in Valley View, Texas when a tornado hit the town.

“We ran into my sister’s closet,” said Abby Peters. “My sister ran in her room to grab her baby and all I saw was her being taken away. The house started shaking and she went this way and we were in the closet. And then the house just started to move.”

Abby and her sister, Veronica Bowers, live on their family property with their children. They each had a mobile home on the land. Both were destroyed by the tornado.

“My family, we’ve owned this property since 1992,” said Abby. She said this is the first time she’s experienced a storm like this.

Once the tornado passed through, Veronica was nowhere to be seen. The family started digging and found her underneath the rubble, yards away from where her home originally stood.

“She had that baby in her arms the whole time. She did not let go of her,” said Abby.  She was severely injured but hung on tight to her 10-month-old daughter, Zolabelle. 

Zolabelle has a small bruise on her head but is otherwise uninjured.

Veronica suffered 9 fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and has a small blood clot, according to Abby. She was transported to a hospital in Fort Worth.

“My sister is actually the general manager at the Shell gas station down here off Lone Oak, and whenever the tornado started to happen, she was on the phone with one of her employees, and her employee heard her screaming ‘Help me. Save my baby.’ And then he told everybody that was in the gas station to take cover,” said Abby.

Abby and Veronica’s home is two miles from the gas station. She said the tornado struck them first before crossing the highway to the gas station.

Officials estimate around 125 people took shelter inside the store at the gas station. Many people were driving on I-35 when they exited to find a safe place to hide. The tornado hit the building directly. Cars surrounding the building are totaled. Everyone inside the gas station survived, but dozens were injured.

Among the destruction on Veronica and Abby’s lot, they are still missing two of their family pets. Their dogs were in the home with them, and have not been seen since. Abby and her family have been digging through the debris for their dogs.

A fundraiser has been set up for the sisters and their children to recover and rebuild.

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