Lightning bolt takes out two vehicles in Maryville
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Two Maryville men from different generations experienced something Thursday afternoon that they will probably remember for a generation.
James Wilkerson, 70, and Leo Hinz, 18, were both traveling on West Broadway Avenue in Maryville during a heavy thunderstorm that came through the area a little after 4 p.m. Suddenly a lightning bolt struck a tree in front of the Home Federal Bank branch, bounced off and struck both their vehicles.
Miraculously, neither of their vehicles sustained any damage on the outside, however, neither one was drivable. A Maryville Police officer responded to the scene and found that neither man was injured. They were both driving alone.
“I was just sitting here like normal,” said Wilkerson, who was driving a 2005 tan Buick LeSabre. “I was just sitting there waiting on a red light in the outer lane, and that’s when the bolt came. It was so bright I couldn’t see, and it really shook my car.”
“I was just sitting there, and all of a sudden everything went black,” said Hinz, driving a 2005 silver Jeep Liberty Diesel. “I couldn’t get out because the rain was so bad.”
All of the electrical components were working in Wilkerson’s vehicle, but it would not start. However, Hinz’s vehicle was completely nonfunctioning. A tow truck was called to haul both vehicles off.
Both are insured.
“I didn’t fear for my life,” said Wilkerson, who is retired. “I wasn’t bleeding — just breathing.”
“The thunder came instantly with the lighting,” said Hinz, a senior at Maryville High School. “I was a little shaken. It sounded like a bomb went off.”