Families Worry about Loved Ones Escaping Rita

Families Worry about Loved Ones Escaping Rita
By: Lauren Keith

SIKESTON, MO --Just like Katrina---- Rita's already having an impact here in the Heartland.  Some of you have called to tell us about loved ones having a tough time getting out of the hurricane's path.

A Sikeston family is certainly one of many trying to get through busy phone lines to call their son who left Houston, late Wednesday night.  The Butrum’s haven't heard anything from their son, since 3:30 Thursday afternoon.

Gail Butrum feels helpless right now.  Cell phone lines are all busy, and they're really frustrated with how slow-going the evacuations are going.

"I'm scared. I'm scared for my kids, I'm scared for all of these people,” said Gail.

This is what life is like right now for Gail Butrum and her family... they nervously watch television for the latest updates, and frantically call their son's cell phone, only to hear a busy signal.

"They left at 11:30 last night. They've traveled 100 miles only and are stuck in traffic--none of the gas stations have gas. I n't know how much food and water they have. He might be stuck there," she said.

This is what frustrates Gail most--- watching the Houston interstates backing up  completely--- meanwhile, the southbound lanes are free of traffic.

"I''ve called highway patrol, Houston pd, I've asked if they're opening those southbound lanes, or if they'll get gas trucks, and I can't get any answers from anyone, it's very frustrating and I'm very angry, and I'm scared for their lives," said Gail

She says it's also hard for her to understand why her son, and all of the evacuees, have to deal with backed-up traffic and gas shortages, especially after they listened to the government's warning and left Huston in good time.

"People pushing their cars to save on gas! Gas stations don't have gas, I don't know how they expect people to get out of there if there isn't any gas. Are they supposed to wait there and smother to death?" wondered Michael Dorris' aunt, Carolyn Hardin.

The Butrum's think when Michael, his wife and two daughters finally do make it to Sikeston--- they just might make the Heartland their home, again, for good

"He's hot, he's irritated, he's mad," said Gail.

When Gail last spoke to her son Thursday afternoon, he told her they're only traveling at about 2 miles per hour.  Michael Dorris also brought along another Houston family, allong with his own.  Meanwhile, Gail's going to keep us updated on her son's travels back to the Heartland over the next few day