Blown Away, Again: Rowlett Won’t Settle Family’s Tornado Lawsuit

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ROWLETT -- The City of Rowlett says it will not settle a lawsuit filed by Ricky and Lakeisha Peterson over tornado damage.  The Petersons filed a lawsuit against the city for $150,000.

The Petersons' house was swept to the ground by a tornado that hit Rowlett the day after Christmas.

"I saw bathtubs flying, sinks, cars, everything, I said, 'Oh this is real.' I shut the door and got back in here and just as I shut that door, BOOM!" Ricky Peterson said.

After spending the night in a hospital, the Petersons thought the worst was over, but that's when the City of Rowlett blew them away.

“Next morning, they come through with a dozer, starting right there and push all of our things all the way down the alley," said Peterson.

With only the clothes on their back, Peterson says the family watched as everything they had left was bulldozed.

“I said, 'Hey, wait, wait, wait They’re letting everyone get their things, let us get ours.' They said, 'We can’t. We need this area,'" Peterson told NewsFix.

David Berman, the City of Rowlett's attorney, said the city had to clear all streets and alleys for safety and access to the torn up neighborhood. He adds, they never cleared private property.

The city says a settlement is unlikely and the property damage is not their fault. They say they are sorry the Petersons did not have insurance, but there are victims services that can help. They say their property was destroyed because of the tornado, not because of what Rowlett did.

The Petersons have set up a GoFundMe account to try recoup what they have lost.