FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBS 2) – No matter how many times you see it, the power of Mother Nature can be stunning.
Power lines can be ripped down. Trees are often toppled over.
But one couple was actually inside their car, when lightning brought down a tree, crushing them.
And they survived to talk about it, sitting down for an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian on Tuesday.
Looking at the wreck, it’s hard to believe anyone could walk away from it.
“I still can’t believe that we are sitting here,” Kristin Villante said.
But there they were, boyfriend and girlfriend Villante and Tiago Lucas. Both were in the Honda. They’re alive by some stroke luck. Lucas had just a scratch, Villante a mild concussion.
“I’m so thankful, so thankful,” Villante said.
It happened Saturday night. The couple was driving home when a vicious storm lit up the skies above Freehold.
“I looked at her and I said, ‘babe, we gotta drive pretty fast. We gotta get out of this,’” Lucas said. “Next thing you know we just see a flash of yellow light.”
That flash of light was a bolt of lightning. It struck a nearby tree, splitting it in half. Then there was a crash as the tree landed on the car, inches from their heads.
“The roof did hit my head and it kinda slammed my neck and it kinda shot me down,” Lucas said.
Glass was everywhere. The car was crushed. The couple was alive but trapped.
“I started saying my prayers. I didn’t think we were gonna get out,” Villante said.
Tiago’s side was crushed. Kristen saw this driver’s side window as the only way out. The two were able to slither their way right through it.
Their parents arrived shortly after.
“When we drove up and I saw the car the way it was I cried,” one parent said.
Their survival is being described as a miracle.
“My father passed away a couple of years ago and I think he was there. I think he was there,” Lucas said.
They said their ordeal has helped forge a new bond.
“After just experiencing that with him you know we can get through anything,” Villante said.
And they said it was a lesson — that life is precious.
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