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Monday, May 2, 2016

Storms claim life of Grange woman

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An aerial view of the tornado that destroyed the home of Eddie and JoAnn Bradley on Shelbyville Road in Southern Sharp County. The twister claimed the life of JoAnn Bradley. Photo/Ed Kegley
What many believe was a tornado, claimed the life of 48-year old Jo Ann Bradley of Grange on April 26, when the family home was completely demolished and blown off its foundation by a massive storm.

The home's remains, just off Shelbyville Road in Southern Sharp County, sit as stark testament to Mother Nature's fury.

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts said Central Dispatch was notified of trees down on Judge Anderson Road near Grange around 10:44 p.m.

JoAnn Bradley lost her life in an April 26 storm, believed to be a tornado, near Grange.
Cave City Deputy Donnie Poulette was contacted by the victim's husband, who was at work in Batesville, after he had attempted unsuccessfully to contact his wife.

Poulette went toward the family's home at 521 Shelbyville Road and radioed to dispatch that the home was demolished and trees were down all along the roadway. Poulette located Bradley's body approximately 200 yards from the home.

At this time, Sharp County deputies and Sheriff Counts, along with Cave City officers, attempted to make their way to the home. Along the way, it was discovered that there was also widespread damage on Puckett Road, Milligan Campground Road, Grange Road, as well as Shelbyville Road, where the fatality occurred.

Spring River Paramedic Ambulance responded to the scene in anticipation of more potential victims.

Bradley was pronounced dead by Sharp County Coroner Doug Wortham. Bradley was the only person home at the time the suspected tornado hit. Eddie Bradley remarked that the home had been secured with hurricane tie downs.

Due to the large number of trees down, indications were the tornado may have been more wide spread. Counts and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Gene Moore began to organize a rescue mission.

By 11:30 p.m., many others joined the rescue effort. The Cave City Fire Department brought in it's mobile incident command center to serve as a base for the rescue effort. It was housed at the Mountain View Church, near Grange.

By just after midnight, volunteers with the Cave City Fire and Police Departments, Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, Evening Shade Fire Department, Highland Fire Department, Grange--Calamine Fire Department, Lynn Fire Department, Strawberry Fire Department, Glencoe Fire Department, Highland Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Game and Fish, Spring River Ambulance Service, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the Sharp County Road Department had joined in a door to door search, to verify all residents were safe.

The rescue effort continued late into the day on April 27.

With rising waters on the backroad creeks and numerous downed power lines, the situation was very dangerous, as officials worked to clear the roads and survey the damage.

By 8:30 a.m., Deputy Gary Mitchell with the Sharp County Sheriff's Department was taking a count of area homes and properties that incurred damage.

Besides apparently lifting the Bradley home from its foundation and dropping it, other damage was also reported in the area.

Two chicken houses belonging to Sam Crabtree were destroyed, along with structural damage to six additional homes. A large tree fell on a mini van and numerous barns from Bald Eagle Barns, near Grange, were also destroyed.

Volunteers worked for hours alongside employees of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative and the Arkansas Highway Department, clearing large trees from roads and fence lines.

Sheriff Counts would like to extend his deepest condolences to the Bradley family for their loss and extend his utmost appreciation for all the agencies and individuals who worked tirelessly during the storm clean up.

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