A 12th person has died of injuries from a North Texas tornado outbreak Dec. 26.
35-year-old Leonardo Mota of Garland died early Saturday at Medical Center of Plano of injuries from one of the 10 tornadoes that struck North Texas the day after Christmas. Garland Police say Mota was driving on Interstate 30 in southern Garland when an EF-4 tornado lifted his truck and trailer and flung it from the roadway.
Friends and family are trying to help his widow and four children cope with the sudden loss. They say he worked seven days a week on his lawn service to provide for his family. Through an interpreter his wife Maria said Leo had called to tell her that he was on his way back from a job in Rockwall and would be home soon, but never showed up. Leo Mota turned 35 on New Year's Eve in the hospital, unconscious. A week later he was taken off life support and died.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with funeral arrangements
"He always wanted to make things look better," said longtime customer Dyral Hargrove.
"He wanted his children to get an education," said a family friend, Teresa Wisdom. "So, they don't have to work as hard as he did."
Hargrove and other customers are now collecting lawn equipment so the Mota family can keep the lawn service.
Another man in Mota's truck, 19-year-old Jose Oviedo Juarez, was among the nine motorists and passengers killed when the twister crossed the interstate's interchange with the President George Bush Turnpike. Three more died in Collin County, north of Dallas. The Insurance Council of Texas estimates the tornado outbreak caused at least $1.2 billion in damage.