Three tornadoes that ripped across central Indiana blew trucks off highways and caused widespread damage to buildings while sparing the lives of the people inside.

"Thank God we have had no injuries," said Hancock County Sheriff Jim Bradbury. "God was with us."Only minor injuries were reported to 18 people in five counties hit by the twisters Thursday night, the state Emergency Management Agency said.

A tornado that touched down on Indianapolis' southeast side around 6 p.m. rolled northwest and stayed on the ground for up to 70 miles, National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Eddy said.

The twister sounded like a jet approaching, said Dave Carter, who lives in Cumberland, just east of Indianapolis.

"You could see shingles twirling in the sky. That was the last I saw of it before I dove for cover," Carter said. "There were no (warning) sirens."

The tornado blew out the back wall of the Rainbow House Academy day care, leaving cribs and strollers exposed among the rubble. The roof on the back half of the academy collapsed, but a jungle gym stood undamaged behind the center.

The day care center had closed minutes before the tornado struck, and no one was inside.

Some of the worst damage was reported in the Indianapolis area - eastern Marion County and adjoining Hancock County - where two tractor-trailers and a United Parcel Service truck were overturned along I-70.

In Greentown, about 40 miles north of Indianapolis, eight people who sought shelter in a basement ended up trapped in a collapsed home. Firefighters and police freed the victims, none of whom was injured.

"We were able to pull them out and everyone was all right," said Howard County Chief Deputy Dave McKinney.