Local News

Man Drives Into Tornado, Escapes Harm by Inches

Posted February 18, 2008 10:46 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2008 11:11 p.m. EST

— A storm system spawned by a strong cold front moving into eastern North Carolina and colliding with warm air left a trail of damage in eight counties Sunday night and in the dark hours of Monday morning.

Dwight Stroud was driving to work before sunrise as that storm system passed through Beaufort County.

He said his car collided with the base of a tornado and was then pelted with flying debris.

“It was a pretty wild experience of driving down the road and suddenly getting hit by a barn, then twisted around by a tornado,” Stroud said.

Pieces of a nearby barn shattered his windows, pounded his doors and speared his headlight.

Then through his windshield, Stroud said he saw a white wall, the base of a funnel cloud.

“Just started spinning around in circles, just real small spinning, then just tossed me off to the side,” he said.

When the car stopped, Stroud said, he realized a board had come within an inch of his head.

When “you do a lot of driving, you see a lot of storms, so you know how the wind affects you. Being in that little car when the wind starts pushing you, then starts spinning you, you know what you're in for,” he said.

Amazingly, Stroud was not injured.

“You thank God to be alive. That's about it,” he said.

After the storm, Stroud got a co-worker to drive him to his tractor-trailer in Virginia so he could get back to work.