Man, 76, Killed by Falling Tree During Ottawa Storm: Coroner

A 76-year-old man was killed and several others hospitalized after a tornado tore through a far southwest Chicago suburb Tuesday night. 

On Wednesday, officials identified the man killed as Wayne Tuntland, saying he was crushed by a falling tree in the 400 block of State Street in Ottawa. Another man suffered crushing injuries and was seriously hurt in the same incident, according to Rich Ploch with the LaSalle County Coroner's office.

"He was a good guy," said neighbor Cindy Ubanek. "You know this is really sad."

Police Chief Dave Gualandri said at least a dozen others suffered injuries during the storm, all of which were believed to be minor injuries. 

The storms left windshields shattered, cars smashed and home destroyed. 

The city of Ottawa has only one tornado siren, but it was not in the area where the storm hit. But Mayor Bob Eschbach said a new system put in place a few months ago did send alerts to residents' cell phones. 

"If you get the text from the police station, there was a warning, so thank god for that because I probably would have run to the grocery store or something or been out doing something in the yard," said resident Lisa Meyers. 

Meyers said the storm hit quickly.

"Honestly, we got into the basement and it hit," she said. 

"The house just shook and the power went out and it was black," said resident Angel Sellers.

The Red Cross and Illinois State Police were assisting the Ottawa Police Department with rescue and recovery efforts Tuesday night. 

As of 9:40 p.m., OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center had received 14 patients related to the storm, the hospital said in a statement. Another six patients were taken in but were not related to the storm.

The hospital said several of the injuries were related to falling tree limbs and the inability of drivers to see in their vehicles.

"Ottawa PD is advising residents displaced by storm damage should go to the Ottawa High School located at 211 East Main in Ottawa for assistance," Illinois State Police said in a news release.

The Ottawa Police Department was overwhelmed with 911 calls amid confirmation of a “large and extremely dangerous tornado,” located over the city.

Police answered the phone and confirmed reports of damage but said it was unclear if there were injuries about 5:30 p.m.

An hour later the phone was off the hook.

Nearby, the LaSalle County Nursing Home suffered damage in the storm but said all residents were safe Tuesday evening. 

"We got hit hard but everyone including residents and staff are safe and accounted for," the nursing home posted on Facebook. "Your prayers are greatly appreciated."

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