Crushed car survivor anxious to return to school

by: Amanda Warford Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Fast and furious was the storm that ripped through a Southside neighborhood Monday. Action News obtained exclusive time-lapsed video captured by home security cameras of the pounding rain and whipping winds that struck Ruby Drive in the moments before a near-disaster.

“We saw three really bold strikes of lightning come down,” said Melissa Smith of the storm.

The wind and rain only got worse as Smith and her 8-year-old son, Caleb, pulled into their driveway.  They quickly decided to stay in the car and wait it out.


Related Story: Trees crush car on Southside


“It was just sheets and sheets of rain and I couldn’t even see the front door.  Then I saw a huge huge flash and I ducked down and grabbed Caleb.

In the moment the cameras went dark, a microburst hit, packing 50 mph winds, pushing over two huge oak trees.  They snapped power lines and crushed down on top of Smith’s car.  Smith and her son were trapped.

“I was bent down over the shift gear facing the driver’s side door, so I could feel Caleb but I could only see his feet on the floorboard,” Smith said.

Caleb was hunched over with his head pushed down and complained that his neck was hurting.  The pair had ducked down into the only open space possible to survive.  Smith was able to grab her cell phone and call 911.

Neighbors captured the dramatic rescue on camera, as more than a dozen firefighters first pulled Caleb to safety.  The family dog and then Smith were also cut from the debris.

“It’s a miracle,” said Smith.  “I just have a few superficial scratches, and Caleb has a small cervical sprain, but could be out of his neck brace by tomorrow and back to school. We’re blessed, that’s the only way I can describe it.”

Some 48 hours later, they have only a few minor injuries, and videos to remind them of that powerful storm, and the people that saved them.

“Just thank you for saving me,” Caleb said.

“We’re living proof you guys are awesome,” added Smith.