(news director John Marsh at Jefferson City affiliate KWOS Radio contributed to this story)

The Riley Toyota and Riley Chevrolet dealerships in Jefferson City remain closed until further notice, due to the recent EF-3 tornado.

Ameren Missouri utility trucks lined the road near Best Western and the Riley Toyota and Chevrolet Buick GMC dealerships in Jefferson City on May 23, 2019, the day after an EF-3 tornado (Brian Hauswirth photo)

Owner Kevin Riley tells Missourinet Jefferson City affiliate KWOS (AM 950) that the tornado damaged or destroyed about 800 of the dealerships’ cars and trucks.

“We will become operational, our sales will become operational soon,” Riley tells KWOS. “We are looking at different parts of the city, we are looking at staying there. We’re just trying to put the pieces to the pie together.”

KWOS notes Riley Auto Group has been a fixture in the Capital City since the 1930s.

Mr. Riley hopes to have the Toyota dealership back to normal operation in six months or less. He says the Riley Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership will likely take longer, because the tornado destroyed their service center.

“The GM store, man, it (the May 22 tornado) just took it all,” says Riley.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in St. Louis says the tornado’s estimated peak wind was 160 miles per hour.

The Riley Family has posted a message on its website, saying they “are thankful for no loss of life in Jefferson City.” The message also says they intend to repair and rebuild, and that they are strengthened by the community’s support.

The same tornado that impacted the Riley dealerships also struck the nearby Special Olympics Training for Life campus, blowing off part of the roof and blowing out numerous windows. The track was also damaged.

Special Olympics has suspended all building operations, because of the damage.

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