Driver Thankful To Be Alive After Car Struck By Lightning Near Catoosa
CATOOSA, Oklahoma - We've all driven during a thunderstorm, but very few of us have had our car struck by lightning.
We’ll that’s what happened to one Green Country man as he was driving home this week. He’s okay, but his car is toast.
Catoosa Fire Chief Denus Benton said in his nearly 30-year career, he's only known of two other cars being struck by lightning. He's never heard of one catching fire, until Jeff McCutcheon.
McCutcheon and his wife, Martha, are shopping for a new car.
"It's gotta be a Prius,” he said. “At over 50 miles a gallon...I got a long commute."
He hasn't had his car for very long, since April, he said; but after being struck by lightning, it’s out of commission.
McCutcheon said, "First thing that happened was this big pop."
That big pop was a strike of lightning hitting one of his mirrors as he drove home from work Tuesday on the Will Rogers Turnpike.
"When I got out, people were running toward the car and I couldn't hear nothing - I had a ringing in my ears," McCutcheon said.
Someone called 911.
Benton said, "He's still alert and conscious, he just wanted to be checked out."
After Catoosa and Verdigris firefighters got there, McCutcheon’s car caught on fire.
"I was just hoping my insurance covers acts of God," he said.
And it looks like it will.
The Catoosa fire chief said this is the first time he's known of lightning starting a car on fire.
"Several people ask, is that common with electric cars? We haven't seen it," Benton said.
So the couple is sticking with the Prius - this time a red one.
But so much more important than the new car, McCutcheon said, is the first thing he did after getting off the highway.
"I went home, hugged my wife, hugged both my kids - thankful for still being alive,"
The Catoosa fire chief said if you can't be inside during a storm, the safest place to be is inside your car, despite McCutcheon's rare encounter with lightning.