'Tell your loved ones I love you': Families struggling with major losses in Pasadena tornado

Monday, January 30, 2023
Pasadena tornado: How families are dealing with impact days later
They've lost loved ones and homes in a tornado emergency the NWS said was a historic first for the area, and now it is all about recovery.

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- Many families still feel the impact of the dangerous weather, including last week's EF3 tornado in southeast Texas.

One woman, Felicia Luna, did everything she could to protect her young child while inside her apartment during the historic storm.

Luna said she is happy to be alive with her 2-year-old son and husband.

Robert Luna, her husband, was at work Tuesday when the tornado hit Beamer Place Apartments.

"I just covered my son," she said. "We got on the ground, and I covered him with my body, and you could hear the sounds all around us."

RELATED: Storm damage is seen across Pasadena after tornado hits during severe weather in SE Texas

She said within seconds, the ceiling fell.

"Just debris everywhere," she said. "I was screaming for help, it was raining over us. My son was shaking and freezing. My neighbor came, and he helped us."

Robert Luna rushed home, going through several emotions.

"A lot of shock and fear at first until I saw my wife and son for myself," he said. "The fear subsided after that and just disbelief seeing the apartment completely gone."

RELATED: Searching for normalcy: How those impacted by Texas' tornadoes are finding ways to cope

WATCH HERE: ABC13's SkyEye captures the damage left by EF3 tornado

An aerial view of the aftermath showed homes and schools destroyed. Some homes completely lost their roofs, while others were smashed by trees and debris.

In addition to those hunkering down at home, drivers who were out were dealing with harsh road conditions.

In Navasota, Christopher Gibbs ran errands with his mom, Urania Sweet.

Their car hydroplaned and crashed into a utility pole.

"The telephone pole hit the top of the car, we tried to back up to avoid the telephone pole from shocking the car, but it shocked it anyways, with us in it," Gibbs said. "She ended up getting out of the car, standing on the ground, and as soon as she touched the ground, she was gone.

Chris tried to save his mother, but she died from her injuries.

Relatives say she always had a big heart. The family has started a GoFundMe account to help with expenses

"She made people proud," Kelsey Manzano said. "That she was genuinely loved. Yeah, I would remind her because it's something that she didn't get a lot."

The Luna family has to start over, all while expecting a new baby this year. They've also started GoFundMe to help with expenses as they recover.

They are taking this moment to reflect.

"Don't take an opportunity to call your loved ones to say 'I love you,' to spend some time with them for granted because from one moment to the next, they could be gone," Robert said.