RANTOUL, Ill., (WCIA) — Rosa Perez got the phone call no mom ever wants to get.
“The screaming and the crying of the kids in the background was horrendous,” she said.
Her U of I student was on a bus that was blown over by the storms. Now, she’s sharing his survival story.
Tornadoes touched down across Central Illinois Friday night, leaving people picking up the pieces and recovering from the aftermath.
Her son is doing okay, and he said he’s thankful to only be on crutches after going through the accident.
The Rantoul City Administrator said there were 28 people on the bus headed north, and 6 went to the hospital with minor injuries.
Perez said she had a million questions running through her head when her son called late Friday night.
“I asked ‘are you in an accident?’ What happened what happened?”
He was inside a coach bus that was blown over on I-57 between Rantoul and Paxton.
“All he said was ‘mom!’ and then I heard a bunch of screaming like someone was on a rollercoaster..screaming and crying,” Perez said. “The tornado had picked up the bus and tipped it over. It was rocking back and forth and then fell into the ditch.”
Her son fell on his hip inside.
“He started to say, my leg is tingly, I have this really bad lower back pain,” she added.
Rantoul city officials said he was one of six that went to an area hospital.
“There were people who had concussions,” Perez explained. “He said someone said they dislocated their shoulder.”
As for him, doctors did X-Rays and determined nothing was broken.
She knows a lot of students are in a frenzy looking for their bags that were on board.
“Luckily he has a tracker in his suitcase so he was able to determine that the suitcase was at a towing company down the street from here,” she said.
That’s one weight off of her shoulders. In the end, Perez knows it could’ve been a lot worse.
“I’m just glad that everyone’s safe, that no one got seriously injured and there were no deaths,” she said.
While she was headed down to Champaign to be with him later, she said she noticed a lot of debris on I-57 where the accident happened.
State Police said they know about the debris and that crews are working to clean it up. Cars driving south will follow a detour at Paxton on 45. Northbound traffic will go through Rantoul on 45.