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Man Narrowly Avoids Death After Tree Struck By Lightning Crashes Into His Car

Man Narrowly Avoids Death After Tree Struck By Lightning Crashes Into His Car

Henri Cheramie, 37, stood up to look at the lightning just seconds before the tree it hit came crashing down on his Honda.

Simon Catling

Simon Catling

A man in Montgomery, Alabama can count himself as one of the luckiest people alive after miraculously avoiding being crushed by a falling tree which was struck by lightning - despite being sat in the car that it fell on.

Henri Cheramie, 37, was sat in his car during a storm on 4 May when, after spotting the lightning, he stood up and looked through his sunroof to see what was going on.

Suddenly, he found the front of his vehicle crushed under a giant branch from a tree hit by the strike. It landed across the front windows and would've surely killed him if he'd not moved just seconds earlier.

Henri Cheramie

"I see lightning just arc across the sky and hit a tree," Cheramie told the Montgomery Advertiser.

"I lean a bit and go 'did lightning just strike that' and the next thing I know, half of my body is out of the sunroof and the top of the car is being weighed down by a giant branch that is bisected just where my face is.

"I felt like Buster Keaton."

Henri Cherami

Maybe it's the fact he's an experienced stand-up comic, but the stunned man seemed to initially take the terrifying incident with good humour.

"My first thought was 'is this a Monday or a Tuesday because this is the Mondayest Tuesday ever'," he said.

However, he wasn't laughing when the lightning struck again - this time catching a nearby power line.

"Behind me, a powerline decides to explode," Cheramie recalled.

"When that happened, electricity just sparked and everything lit up and I heard the power line pop and that's when I started yelling for help. I didn't want to die."

Thankfully for the death-dodging driver, landscapers who had been working nearby spotted the unbelievable scene and tried to get him out, as well as calling 911.

Once they arrived, firefighters gave Cheramie a helmet, some goggles and threw a tarp over him as they strategically strapped the limbs of the tree to his car to avoid rollback, cut them up, then cut his Honda in pieces so that he could be removed.

Henri Cheramie

"If my giant C-section baby head hadn't gone through that sunroof, I don't know where I'd be," he joked.

Remarkably, Cheramie didn't even accept an ambulance. Although he did only have minor cuts and bruises, like anyone who'd just had a hulking great tree fall on them would of course.

Instead he was driven home by a police officer.

Cheramie has precedent for dicing with death and winning, however. A Louisiana native who spent a significant portion of his young life in New Orleans, he only just missed the full force of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, having fled the city several hours beforehand.

He also spent time living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2011 and moved away from the area just three days before a monster tornado swept through it on 27 April of that year.

Just pure luck, or does Henri Cheramie have an unnerving sixth sense?

Featured Image Credit: Henri Cheramie

Topics: US News