An Idaho man survived his car being hit by lightning in a storm that caused his SUV to go haywire and keep running after the key removed from the ignition.
Antun Tuskan, 30, of Rathdrum, Idaho, was driving to work on Tuesday when he spotted a lightning storm on the freeway he needed to take to work.
"I've never seen a lightning storm. It was just lightning bolts coming straight down. They weren't going diagonal or across the sky," Tuskan told ABCNews.com. "I thought, 'They've got to be hitting something,' but I had to go in that direction to get to work."
Tuskan was going 70 mph in his 2004 Chevy Trailblazer and thought he could get through the storm pretty quickly.
"I see a flash and I heard a huge pop, just a loud pop and then I saw the scene on the other side of the freeway," Tuskan said. "All of the cars came to a complete stop."
"My first thought was, 'Someone over there just got hit or someone right behind us,'" he said.
When he tried to stop, he realized that his brakes were gone
"I still didn't know it was me," he said. "I thought, 'Okay, I'll just steer over there.' But the steering was out and I looked at the dash and lights are flickering."
It was at this point that he came to a terrifying realization.
"You've got to be kidding me. It was me that got hit by lightning," he recalled thinking. "The next 10 minutes were the most terrifying because I was helpless. The lightning was still coming down... and I couldn't go anywhere."
He managed to get the car to the side of the road and come to a stop without getting hurt. Meanwhile, lightning was still striking all around him and he found himself wondering if his car would explode if lightning hit his gas tank.
"I thought it was the last few minutes of my life," he said. "I honestly didn't think I was going to make it. I was calling my wife, my in-laws, in case I didn't talk to them again. I thought I was done. It was the worst feeling in the world."
Tuskan also called 911, but his wife made it to his location first. The lightning had lessened, so he took his keys out of the ignition and sprinted to his wife's car and they took off.
Strangely enough, the car's ignition kept running even without the keys in the car and two diagonal tires blew out.
A doctor checked Tuskan's pulse, feet and hands, but found nothing wrong with him. The doctor asked him if his pulse stopped or if he blacked out, and Tuskan said he didn't think so, but couldn't be sure.
"Lightning does crazy things," Tuskan said. "I didn't feel anything."
At the end of the ordeal, he said he just wanted to see his wife and two sons, ages one and three.
"I'm just glad to be here," he said with a sigh of relief.
Tuskan is the latest in a string of recent lightning strikes.
A North Carolina man recently survived his third lightning strike since 1997. In Texas on Saturday, three men huddled under a tree at a soccer game were struck by lightning that hit the tree. One of the men died at the scene, one died at the hospital and the other one survived with burns.
In New York, a family's camping trip was cut short when lightning struck their R.V. and the vehicle's ceiling caught fire. The family's four children were inside the camper, but all survived with no injuries.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the chances of being struck by lightning in a given year are one in a million. The average number of annual deaths reported is 39 and the average number of injuries reported is 241, based on averages from 2001-2010.Also Read