Monday, June 9th, 2008
Mercer County man recovering after feeling the power of lightning
By Margie Wuebker
A Hecht's Landing resident is recuperating at home today after being struck by what utility company employees are calling overflash from a lightning strike. The incident occurred shortly before 8:45 p.m. Friday as a thunderstorm packing brisk winds buffeted Mercer County.
Tim Young, 41, 8583 state Route 219, told The Daily Standard he is feeling "pretty good" today but does not remember what happened after he went to close up a nearby home belonging to his father-in-law and mother-in-law as the storm approached.
Young and his wife, Mitzie, were told lightning apparently hit a line at an unspecified location and then traveled through a cable television line until it arced to the CB antenna atop his pickup truck.
"From what we have been able to determine, Tim grabbed a stainless steel coffee mug from the hood of the truck and then reached for the door handle," Mitzie said. "He was thrown 7 feet and singe marks in the grass show where he landed."
She was having problems of her own at the time as a trailer from a lawn tractor blew into the yard heading toward the channel. She quickly jumped aboard and rode it into a tree knowing it would not be going anywhere from there.
"Tim called me and he was crying," Mitzie recalled. "He told me he had been hit by lightning and was in the truck heading home. Thank God, the distance is no more than a block."
She ran to the neighbors knowing their daughter is a registered nurse. They were waiting when the pickup truck pulled up and Young walked to the porch, where he collapsed.
Her call was the third to 911 regarding the strike. Medics worked feverishly over the Brookside Wood Products plant manager before loading him into the ambulance and "running hot" with sirens blaring to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys.
He was treated in the emergency room and later released. Red spots remain around his feet, ankles and arms. His "fuzzy" speech has improved, according to Mitzie. However, he remains under the care of the family doctor.
"We are so thankful that God spared Tim," she added. "I rode along in the ambulance and heard somebody in the back say 'We're losing him' but fortunately it wasn't his time yet."
Tornado sirens sounded throughout the county Friday evening in the wake of a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service in Wilmington. Meteoroligist Andy Hatzos said the warning was issued after the Mercer County Sheriff's Office received numerous calls regarding funnel clouds amid dark, menacing clouds.
Initial reports of funnel clouds came from the Chattanooga area shortly before 8:30 p.m. with another sighting made in the area of Agave Mexican Bar and Grill east of Celina.
"We went ahead with the warning even though there was not a lot to see on our radar screens," Hatzos added. "A deputy's report of damage he saw leads us to believe the damage was done by straightline winds and a tornado."
He estimates the velocity at 60 to 70 miles per hour - more than enough to bring down trees and utility poles.
Strong winds blew sections of roof from a new hog barn at the farm of David J. Siefring, 4147 Philothea Road, Coldwater, and toppled a shed in the 500 block of West Walnut Street in Coldwater. Trees and utility poles were toppled along a swath from the Rockford area southward to Coldwater.
Parents and grandparents have tales to tell about getting children to safety at area playgrounds and ballfields as the storm approached stirring up clouds of dust. The sheriff's office had no reports of injuries only frightened adults and children.