Tornado winds damage home of San Jacinto County sheriff’s captain

By Vanesa Brashier,

An unconfirmed tornado is being blamed for damage to the New Waverly home of San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Schultea Jr. As spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, Schultea is accustomed to making public statements about damaging storms, but on Sunday afternoon, his family home on FM 1375 at Hawthorne Road in New Waverly was caught in a storm’s crosshairs.

Schultea says he had just returned home from an out-of-town trip and was settling down with dinner and a favorite TV program when the storm hit.

“All of a sudden, I heard wind and a whistling sound. The rain was hitting the windows of the house like someone was spraying a firehose directly on the windows,” he said. “I ran downstairs and saw the damage. There was a line of twisted trees. My 100-year-old oak tree was across the driveway.”

The corner of his house was damaged, as was his horse barn, dog kennel and a trampoline. The most severe damage was to the barn, which is now missing a large section of roof.

“I think the tornado hit those trees, clipped the house and then came down on the barn,” Schultea said.

Despite the damage, there were no injuries to humans or animals.

“Everybody is fine. My family is fine and all my animals were spared. The dogs were soaking wet and not happy, but they are fine,” he said.

A bull calf was caught up under a pile of shavings that had him trapped inside another outbuilding, but Schultea was able to quickly free him and locate him to a clear part of the yard.

For now, Schultea said it appears his property was the only one in the New Waverly area impacted by the tornado winds.

“I went out to the highway and looked in the direction this storm had been traveling. You can see twisted treetops but it doesn’t appear anyone else’s property was damaged,” he said.

As a veteran officer who spent most of his career in Harris County, Schultea has witnessed his share of bad storms.

“I have seen some hellacious weather. We had a major tornado in Harris County in 1988 that picked up the sergeant’s patrol car and dropped it on the other side of the freeway,” he said.

Schultea says he is well insured, so he knows his property will eventually be restored, minus one thing – the ancient oak tree.

“That was my favorite tree on the property,” he said.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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