12-year-old boy severely injured by Polk County tornado recounts experience

We’re now learning more about the deadly tornado in Onalaska that occurred on April 22, 2020. More than 300 homes were damaged or destroyed, dozens of people were injured, and 3 people were killed.

“I’ll definitely be paying more attention to tornado warnings now,” said Nina Acevedo, a tornado survivor from Yaupon Cove.

Acevedo was released from a Houston hospital last week, but she is staying in the medical center to be with her 12-year-old son who is still receiving treatment.

On April 22nd, Acevedo had been inside a relative’s home with her son Keagen, brother Taylor Holbert, and Holbert’s girlfriend Brooke Ivey.

“There was literally almost no time to prepare,” said Acevedo. “The weather didn’t even seem that bad that day. When I say I was in the tornado, we were in the tornado. It’s shocking me and my son survived.”

After receiving a tornado warning alert on her phone, Acevedo says they all rushed to a bathroom and huddled together for safety.

“I screamed for everybody to kneel,” said Acevedo. “My brother braced his body against [the door], for [it] to not fly open.”

Within seconds, the EF-3 twister tore the home apart.

“I remember floating,” said Acevedo. “It was just like a bunch of wind. I was trying to move my hands to protect my head. I remember inhaling all of the dirt. [There was] brown dirt with white speckles in it. “I didn’t feel anything hit me until the one big hit. I went unconscious.”


Acevedo says she woke-up covered in debris and blood. Her son was screaming.

“I heard him screaming “Mom” when I woke up,” said Acevedo. “I crawled with what I could and got him.”

With several broken bones, and a dislocated leg, Acevedo could also hear her brother Taylor.

“I could hear him talking,” said Acevedo. “He was groaning, but I didn’t know. [Then}, Brooke, after sitting there for 3 hours and never even hearing anything move where she was trying to get up, I had a pretty good indication that Brooke was gone.”

Three people died that tragic day in Onalaska, including 29-year-old Taylor Holbert and his girlfriend 27-year-old Brooke Ivey.

“Taylor loves his momma,” said Acevedo. “He said he was never going to leave her, and he never did. Brooke, she was the sweetest thing. They both loved the outdoors.”

A fundraising page has been setup for the family during this time. If you’d like to help, CLICK HERE.

“My son told me he never wants to ride in a tornado again,” said Acevedo.