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Tornadoes kill 2 as violent storms hit Plains, Midwest

FARMERSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Tornadoes struck central and southern Illinois and eastern Oklahoma, killing two people and injuring at least 10, as violent thunderstorms swept across the Plains and Midwest.

A line of severe thunderstorms spawned more than a dozen twisters late Tuesday and early Wednesday in Illinois, where a truck driver was crushed to death while he slept inside his rig at a truck stop about 60 miles north of St. Louis, authorities said.Four others also were injured at the popular Farmersville truck stop when the storm hit at 7:15 p.m., officials said. One remained hospitalized Wednesday in good condition.

Severe thunderstorms also struck Arkansas with hail and wind gusting to nearly 90 mph, and several passengers were killed when an American Airlines plane slid off a wet runway at Little Rock and burst into flames (See story above).

In eastern Oklahoma, a woman died when a twister hit two communities at Fort Gibson Lake just north of Sequoyah State Park, said Cherokee County emergency official Scott Pettus. Six others were injured, one critically.

About 25 structures were damaged, many of them weekend homes, but many were unoccupied, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department said.

June Godwin, 87, said she hid in her closet when the storm approached. "The screen from the glass door hit me in the back."