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Bend native survives deadly Nashville tornado

Fiancee's apartment destroyed by twister; they took cover in bathroom

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend resident Ted Engstrom, the owner of Sunday Guitars, had quite the wake-up call Tuesday morning, when he realized his son, who grew up here and now lives in Nashville, had been right in the line of a tornado.

"I first heard Bob (Shaw) say on the weather that Nashville had a tornado, and I just dove for my phone," Engstrom recalled. "My kids are there!"

A.J. Kross, a Mountain View High School graduate, left Central Oregon and moved to Nashville just over eight years ago to pursue a music career.

But on Monday night, Kross and his fiancée Krista saw a tornado rip right through her apartment.

"Tornado warnings went off and, you know, I'm just a typical dude, I'm like 'Eh, you hear those all the time,' or whatever," Kross recounted.

After taking cover in the bathroom, Kross said the tornado moved through quickly, but the damage was unbelievable.

"I look out, there's just glass everywhere, there's just stuff everywhere. So I start walking through the glass, like a really smart person. My feet are all tore up, but anyways, got my shoes, I look out the back door, outside and it was like complete chaos outside. It looked like Ground Zero or the Walking Dead kind of thing," Kross said.

"I'm just glad we're safe, because when you see a 2-by-4 go through a 10-inch-thick concrete wall, you realize that it could be you, and it's just eye-opening."

Both Kross's and Krista's cars were totaled and an apartment building destroyed, and now the couple are left to pick up the pieces all while getting ready for their wedding.

But Kross's dad is planning to help them out by holding a fundraiser that will coincide with Sunday Guitars 10th anniversary celebration on March 21.

"I mean, they lost everything -- they lost their cars, all of her belongings. All of his belongings are at his apartment, but we are just going to do a fundraiser for Krista," Engstrom said.

At the end of the day, Kross said the main thing is they made it through alive and unharmed, and that's all he can ask for.

"I'm really glad -- its really devastated a lot of people in town. Watching the news and things like that, you see videos and pictures of it, but that just shows the image. It doesn't show the emotion and the actual feeling people have, because it it truly affects lives," Kross said. "Things like that truly affect lives."

Along with getting married in just a few months, Kross plans to release new music in the coming weeks. He hopes this will be the next step down the path to success in the music industry.

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Jacob Larsen

Jacob Larsen is a reporter and weather anchor for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jacob here.


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