Boy dies in violent windstorm - 5,000 still without power

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By Nathan L. McBroom

A 10-year-old boy was killed Sunday afternoon when high winds broke off a large tree limb that fell and crushed him at his family's home near Simpsonville.

Frederick Wilson, 10, is the only known fatality from Sunday's massive windstorm, which caused fires, knocked out power, interrupted cable service and knocked broadcast channels off the air.

The storm, which was created by the breakup of Hurricane Ike, pummeled Western Kentucky and the Louisville Metro area with winds in excess of 70 mph.

Hundreds of thousands of homes across the area are without power, and schools in counties surrounding Shelby County are closed. Shelby County schools are on scheduled break today and Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, it is estimated that 5,000 people in Shelby County are still without power.

Sunday evening, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Kentucky because of the storm.

This order provides the necessary authorization to take a broad range of steps to ensure safety in the wake of calamitous storms that impacted much of the state.

"We cannot undo some of the tragic consequences of today's storms," Beshear said. "But we can quickly and effectively lend the proper and appropriate assistance to help our fellow Kentuckians during this incredibly challenging time."

At about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, when the winds began to gust at their most violent, Wilson was outside of his famly's home on Connor Station Road when he was struck by limb.

Ronnie Sowder, assistant chief of the Simpsonville Fire Department, and other emergency workers were on the scene within three minutes of the accident, he said, but the trauma was too severe.

Wilson immediately was rushed to Jewish Hospital of Shelbyville where doctors worked for hours trying to revive him.

It "was just a terrible accident," Sowder said.

Frederick, a student at Simpsonville Elementary, was the grandson of Fred Wiche, who was widely known in the community and across the state as The Weekend Gardener on WHAS television and radio in Louisville. His column appeared in the Sentinel-News and is continued by his daughter Jeneen.

Bobby Cowherd, chief the Shelby County Fire Department, said Wilson's death was the only major incident caused by the storm.

He said there were a few field fires and houses sparked from downed power lines.

He said that with the strength of the storm, things could have been much worse.

"I've been here a long time, and I've never seen wind that severe," he said.