Trooper injured by Henryville tornado tells his story of survival

Trooper Wimp
Trooper Wimp

HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) - An Indiana State Police trooper from Henryville, injured in the March 2 tornado, said the generosity he's seen from strangers near and far has renewed his sense in humanity.

Trooper Mark Wimp was getting ready to head into work to help tornado victims when he became a victim himself.

Wimp had just gotten home from the gym and was changing into his uniform when he heard the tornado was heading his way. "I immediately called my mother, told her she needed to pick up my 2-year-old son Lucas," Wimp said. "I didn't know what time I was going to be home. I was going to respond to the storms in the area."

He felt the pressure drop and started to head toward the basement. He opened the door, and "that's when all the windows of the house came in around me," Wimp said. "The next thing I know, I woke up laying on top of a window unit air conditioner, and I had a 60 foot maple tree laying on top of me."

His house along Highway 160 in Henryville was destroyed. Trooper Wimp was the only thing to make it out in one piece. "I had lacerations to the face. I'm assuming it's from the air conditioning unit that hit me in the face. It cut the left side of my face, chipped a couple teeth, knocked one out and then it broke my right shoulder and fractured the scapula."

Even with a broken shoulder, Wimp was able to remove the AC unit and get out from under the tree. Then he used debris from the tornado -- cinder blocks -- to climb out of the basement. "I just didn't want to lay there any longer," Wimp said. "I knew I needed to get out of there. I knew I was hurt."

His cruiser was also under a tree, so getting help from people traveling along 160 was his only hope. "I walked out there, and a young man named Darren Marshall stopped, picked me up, took me to the Scott County emergency room. The next thing I remember, I was waking up inside the CAT scan machine."

Two of his family's homes that were next door were flattened, too. The only one left standing sustained so much damage it's now being knocked down. He said some of his family members suffered minor injuries, too.

Trooper Wimp is already back at work on limited duty.

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