Family's car struck, totaled by lightning

Lightning Strikes Car
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A Lawrence County family traveling home from Bald Knob had to stop after facing strong winds, heavy rain and lightning that totaled their vehicle.

It has always been a myth that the tires on your vehicle help insulate you from lightning strikes but this family's shocking story proves otherwise.

"It sounded like a grenade," said Bill Engle, who was in the vehicle when it was struck by lightning. "It was a loud boom. And when it went boom, everything shut down on the car."

In a split second, a flash of lightning stopped the Engle family on their trip home on Highway 167.

They said a bolt of lightning spidered down the side of their Chevy HHR, locking the steering wheel up.

"I was praying to God just let us get stopped," said Sarah Engle, Bill's wife. "When we got stopped, that is when I began to cry."

The Arkansas State Trooper who responded to the accident said he had never seen lightning hit a moving vehicle before.

Even though Bill and Sarah Engle, who are both disabled, are without a car, they say this is just another low point in their lives that they will overcome.

"We have been through a lot and I think it is because of the love we have in our family," Bill said.

Bill later realized the watch he was wearing had a broken crystal leaving behind a minor burn, which was the only injury in the accident.

Now, he encourages everyone to always expect the unexpected.

"Just because you are in a vehicle and you're driving down the road and you think you're safe, even from a thunderstorm or lightning, you're not," Bill said.

The Engles said they are blessed to be alive to tell their story and that they give all the glory to God.

"My daughter at the time matter of fact she was sitting in the backseat and she was holding a bible at the time," Bill said. "I told her, 'God was watching out for us.'"

According to the National Weather Service, it is a fact that most cars are safe from lightning but it is the metal roof and sides that protect you, not the tires.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android