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Vintage KSDK: 4 killed in 1968 when tornado hit Freeburg, Illinois

In the 10 states hit by tornadoes the night of May 15 and the morning of May 16, 1968, at least 72 people were killed and 1,203 were hurt.

ST. LOUIS — This week's Vintage KSDK goes back to May 15, 1968, the night 39 tornadoes hit 10 states, including Missouri and Illinois.

One of the hardest-hit communities in the Bi-State was the town of Freeburg, Illinois.

Four people were killed in the town of 2,000, and more than 60 were injured when the F-3 tornado hit on a Wednesday night around 9:45 p.m.

The twister was on the ground for two miles and tore a path of destruction 600 yards wide.

Investigators later discovered those who died and most of the people who were hurt had been taking shelter in a trailer court that was destroyed.

5 On Your Side spoke with many who survived the storm.

"I got in the car and started out the driveway and it struck and it broke my windshield, but I kept going at an angle to the storm to get away," recalled one woman.

She was unable to find her trailer when she returned back to her neighborhood.

Freeburg High School was heavily damaged, as was an American Legion Post, a milling plant, and a funeral home.

"Wasn't there another tornado just right over here a few months ago?” asked our 5 On Your Side reporter.

“Yes there was," another Freeburg resident replied, "almost the same path that it took this time."

It was a dark moment in Freeburg's history and for many other communities.

In the 10 states hit by tornadoes that night, at least 72 people were killed and 1,203 were hurt.

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