SALADO, Texas — One Salado couple says they are lucky to be alive after a one-in-a-million chance happened: Their vehicle was struck by lightning Wednesday morning.
It was around 5 a.m. James Keeton and his wife were traveling on I-35, headed toward the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to catch a flight.
Rain was lightly coming down, but it didn't seem bad enough to delay the trip, he said. That was their first mistake, Keeton added.
"We probably should have waited at least 24 hours after the storm hit but my wife really needed to catch the flight. I didn't think it was going to be that bad," Keeton shared.
As they drove on the highway, they suddenly saw what they called "a big white blotch" hit their front windshield. Right after that, their ears starting to ring then the driver side window immediately shattered into pieces, Keeton said.
Turns out, their car was struck by lightning, he said.
"The window was blown out immediately and our eardrums just immediately just started ringing really bad," he said.
Right after the strike, they pulled over to the side of the road and noticed all of the electricity in the car was dead.
"All the electronics shut down, headlights, everything. This is a brand new car and it shouldn't happen unless you know something drastic happens like that. We were pretty shaken up as you can imagine because this is something that just doesn't happen where we're from," he said.
Lightning strikes aren't uncommon for Texas. The CDC said Florida, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have the most lightning deaths and injuries.
The chance of being struck by a lightning strike is less one in a million, the CDC reported. The CDC added that 90% of lightning strike victims survive.
Luckily, Keeton and his wife made it out ok and he was able to get his wife to the airport on time.
He did learn one important thing after this experience, though:
"Don't take the weather for granted, no matter where you're at, especially here in Central Texas," he said.
Keeton's wife said she plans to go to the hospital if her ears continue to be in pain.