A second man has died in Ottawa as a result of a tornado that devastated the north-central Illinois town Tuesday night, officials said.
David Johnson, 31, and his family members were in the backyard of a home on State Street when an uprooted tree came crashing down on them during the severe storms, officials said.
Johnson was with his father-in-law Wayne Tuntland and his spouse, Tuntland’s son, Toby, at the time, officials said.
Tuntland, 76, was killed instantly, police said. Johnson was transported to OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa before being transferred by helicopter to OSF Saint Frances in Peoria, where he was pronounced dead at 4:54 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the Peoria County Coroner, Johnson suffered severe head trauma, resulting in his death.
For residents in the small tight-knit community, the pain is two-fold as they clean up the destruction left behind and mourn the sudden loss of their neighbors.
“He was a good guy,” Ottawa resident Cindy Ubanek said of 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland.
Another neighbor recalled seeing Tuntland walk his dog through the town every day.
“People say, ‘Why was he out here?’” neighbor Lisa Meyers said. “But I say, 'Well, it came on quickly.' We went into the basement when it hit.”
Johnson's spouse and Tuntland's son, Toby, were both hospitalized and released. About a dozen other residents also suffered minor injuries.
Crews worked tirelessly overnight to fix and replace downed power lines and straighten snapped light poles. As of Thursday morning about 1,500 people in Ottawa were still without power.
Salvation Army volunteers spent the night walking the dark streets, handing out food and water.
“See these people that lost everything, there’s no reason to smile,” David Ghantous of the Salvation Army said. “[But] to see [others] helping out, handing them a sandwich or a bottle of water, really touches my heart.”