Petra Ruiz had just left a Texas hair salon Saturday—after a special appointment her husband set up for her as a Christmas gift—and called her husband on FaceTime to chat during the drive home, placing her phone in her SUV's cup holder. Suddenly she started screaming and disappeared from the screen of her husband's phone. Ruben Porras used an app to locate her and drove to the interstate, encountering blocked roads and police cars along the way and having to run the last mile, "just hoping she was still alive," he tells the Dallas Morning News. Tornadoes had struck Texas, and Ruiz, 27, was one of the victims: When Porras found her car, "It was flipped over and it was crushed," Porras tells CBS News; it had been thrown off an overpass.
He crawled inside and took her hand, begging her to wake up, but "she had no pulse. She was gone," he says. The couple, who met when Ruiz was 15 and who had been married for 10 years, had been talking about what was for dinner before the tornado struck. The weather hadn't come up in conversation, and Porras tells CBS he doesn't think his wife saw it coming. Seven other people died in Garland, Texas, that day, all of them in their vehicles. Heartbroken, Porras went home to the couple's four children, aged 2 to 9: "I just said to them, 'Mommy is not coming home. She was in a terrible accident and she has left us.'" A GoFundMe campaign set up to help with funeral costs and other expenses has raised more than $36,000 so far. (Tragedy struck another Texas family out to view Christmas lights.)