Originally created 11/29/03

Across the Southeast



Winds, hail destroy Louisiana businesses

NAPOLEONVILLE, La. -Residents patched their roofs with tarps Friday after high wind and hail damaged dozens of homes and destroyed three businesses.

Sheriff Mike Waguespack said he believed a tornado hit Napoleonville early Thursday, though there were no confirmed sightings. No one was injured, but two auto shops and a furniture store were destroyed and about 25 homes were damaged.

About 2,400 customers lost electricity, but it had been restored by Friday, power company Entergy Louisiana said.

About a dozen residents had to patch their roofs because of wind damage, but Sheriff Waguespack said he did not think there would be need for temporary shelters in the town about 35 miles south of Baton Rouge.

"I think everybody's getting by fine," he said.

In southwest Louisiana, residents continued their cleanup after a tornado struck late Wednesday near DeRidder, slightly injuring two people and destroying at least six homes.

Red Cross officials planned to return to the area today to continue assessing storm damage.

Tree falls on vehicle, killing elderly couple

BENSON, N.C. -A tree fell on a sport utility vehicle driving down a road Friday, killing the couple inside.

Wind gusts of more than 30 mph were reported at the time the tree toppled onto the Jeep Cherokee north of Benson, in central North Carolina, the state highway patrol said.

Eugene Beasley, 72, of Benson, died at the scene. His 70-year-old wife, Doris, died after being flown to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, highway patrol Trooper David Mazzotta said.

The tree was as much as 2 feet in diameter and was 30 feet from the road's shoulder when it fell, crossing over the two-lane road, Trooper Mazzotta said.

"It was a freak of nature," he said. "I've seen (trees) falling in the road and a car hitting them," but not one striking a moving car, he said.

Rescue crews had to cut up the tree and remove it with a boom truck before reaching the victims, the highway patrol said.

Child is struck, killed by his father's truck

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -A father accidentally backed his truck over his 13-month-old son on Thanksgiving morning, killing the boy.

Aaron Holt died at Tampa General Hospital later Thursday after suffering severe head injuries.

The toddler's parents, Michael and Donna Holt, had been preparing for a Thanksgiving dinner when the boy went outside, where his father was unloading a table and chairs from the truck, authorities said.

Mr. Holt did not realize his son was outside when he backed the truck out of the carport and onto a lawn, striking the boy, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said.