Local/State

Lightning strikes Hopewell man while driving

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"All of a sudden I heard this big bang and a flash of light," 63-year-old Bob Drift of Hopewell told Action News.

Bob was driving through a blinding rainstorm on Route 202 in Flemington Monday when a lightning bolt hit right in front of him.

"My arm went all pins and needles, my face went kind of funny and it went down the right side of me. I never experienced anything like it in my life. The hair stood up on my head," Bob said.

Bob, a tree-trimmer for over 40 years, was holding on to the metal gearshift of his 1986 Blazer when the lightning hit. He thinks the electric charge traveled through that gearshift.

Stunned, a little woozy and with his right side feeling like it was on fire, he headed to Hunterdon Medical Center nearby, where he was given a battery of tests including a CT scan.

"They saw something that maybe could have caused a partial stroke-type thing, which may be what's wrong with my eye," Bob said.

The vision in his right eye is fuzzy and his right side is still numb.

Today, Bob is spending his day with doctors. He's got to go to the neurologist, the ophthalmologist and his own personal physician.

But, he's not complaining one bit!

"In my years of doing tree work, seeing all the damage from lightning and then having this happen to me&I just thank God I'm here. Very scary. I'm going to play the lottery," Bob said.

Drift is still wearing his medal of the Blessed Mother. He's cleaned it up some, but the edges are still blackened from when the lightning bolt hit.

Bob Drift is counting his blessings and remembering the words of his emergency room doctor after his close encounter with lightning.

"He said, 'you're lucky.' He said, 'you're my favorite patient today, you made it.'" Bob said.

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Tags:
new jersey, lightning, local/state, nora muchanic
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