Kentucky tornado death toll, other Midwestern states death toll including judge, grandma, outdoorsman

MAYFIELD, Ky. – An Amazon warehouse worker in Illinois, an outdoor enthusiast and avid motorcyclist. A Kentucky judge known for his common sense. A “typical” grandmother from Missouri.

These people were among dozens of people killed in Friday night’s tornadoes that tore through five states in the Midwest and South. There have been more than a dozen confirmed deaths in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee, but these numbers are expected to rise. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has warned that the death toll in his state alone could exceed 100.

Experts say one of the spirals is likely to have broken the nearly 100-year-old record for how long a tornado stays on the ground in a path of destruction.

Here are some of the people who died in tornadoes.


Brian Crick, a judge for two Kentucky counties, is known for his good judgment when it comes to problem solving, a fellow judge said.

Crick, 43, is a district judge for Muhlenberg and McLean counties who has handled petty criminal cases, traffic court and juvenile cases, said Circuit Judge Brian W. Wiggins. Wiggins said he has known his fellow judge since 2005, when Crick was a public defender. He then trained individually before sitting on the bench in 2011.

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Many of the defendants who came before him were not represented by an attorney, and Crick “was very good to see that their rights were protected,” Wiggins said. “He has a very conventional approach. He is very qualified in how to handle cases and how to talk to people.”

Wiggins is survived by a wife and three children, all of whom made it through the storm without serious injuries, Wiggins said. “He’s just a fulfilled family man … very attached to his children and wife. They are number one to him.”

“We were particularly heartbroken when we received the news,” Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton said in a statement. “This is a shocking loss for his family, his community and the court system and his family are in our prayers.”


Two of June Pennington’s children said the Manila, Arkansas resident is devoted to her four children and nine grandchildren and is particularly fond of animals.

Pennington, 52, was working as an assistant manager at a Dollar General store in nearby Leachville, Arkansas when he was hit.

“She doesn’t love anything in life as much as her children and grandchildren,” says Christie Pennington. “She’s really selfless and loves with all her heart.”

David Benefield, the oldest of June Pennington’s four children, said he was born when his mother was 14 years old.

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“She was a kid raising a kid. We were like best friends,” he said. “It’s crazy how close you become.”

Her children remember her as someone who “would do anything we asked her to do”, Benefield said. Even after her children are grown, they say June Pennington wants to spend as much time with them as possible.

Christie Pennington said her mother adopted dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, turtles and even a ferret.

Christie Pennington said: ‘If there’s an animal in need of a home, we’ll take it and say her mother blamed her, even though her children know better.

“It was just an outlet for her,” Benefield said.


Clayton Lynn Cope, 29, worked at Amazon for more than a year before her death at a company facility in southwestern Illinois.

Five other workers died at the facility located outside of St. Louis.

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Cope, who lives near Alton, Illinois, joined the Navy after graduating from high school, and is an outdoor enthusiast who also enjoys riding motorcycles and playing video games. He has a special place in his heart for his dog, said Draco, his sister Rachel Cope.

“He would be devoted to anyone,” Cope said in a text message.

Ollie Borgmann, 84, is a sweet “typical grandma” and has lived in her home in Defiance, Missouri for decades.

A tornado blew through the home she shares with her 84-year-old husband, Vernon, Friday night, blowing away the home, as well as the house of a neighbor in town located a few miles from St. Louis about 40 miles to the west. .

Her son, Mark Borgmann, told St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his brother, Keith, was on the phone with their father during a strong storm when the line went down. The next thing Vernon Borgmann remembered was waking up in a nearby field surrounded by debris. He has scratches and bruises but will be fine, Mark Borgmann said.

When Ollie Borgmann was found by rescuers, she was conscious. She later died at a hospital.


Loller reports from Nashville, Tennessee, and Tareen reports from Chicago. Josh Funk contributed from Omaha, Nebraska, Mike Schneider contributed from Orlando, Florida, and Jeff Amy contributed from Atlanta.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Kentucky tornado death toll, other Midwestern states death toll including judge, grandma, outdoorsman

Dais Johnston

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