Tim Mullins was minding his own business while driving his Ford F-150 pickup truck when the unexpected happened: he hit a tree. But this isn't the usual kind of accident where someone veers off the road. Instead, it was the result of a lightning strike that his truck's on-board dash cam happened to capture.
The incident occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon. Lightning struck a large 120-foot Douglas fir tree directly in front of Mullin's truck, literally slicing the tree down the middle and hurling a large chunk of wood into traffic.
The tree just narrowly misses colliding with the pickup, though Mullins doesn't have enough time to react to the new obstacle on the road and collides with the fallen wood. Fortunately, both the driver and passenger escaped with no injuries and the F-150's front bumper took the bulk of the cosmetic damage. Mullins notes that the Ford he was driving was his dream truck and that, sadly, he didn't have full coverage on the F-150.
Several bystanders observed the events and began filming. Though the crash itself wasn't captured from multiple angles, the aftermath certainly was. Mullins'pickup was seen parked next to the burning tree with wood and branches scattered across the roadway. Firefighters with the Eugene Springfield Fire department told local news that the lightning strike sent debris flying more than 200 yards.
The lightning was hot enough to set the tree on fire and burn until it started to become brittle. A single bolt of lightning can reach temperatures of 30,000 kelvins (53,540 degrees Fahrenheit)—that's hotter than the surface of the sun by a factor of five. But this also caused city officials to become concerned about the tree's stability, fearing its imminent collapse. Crews were called in to remove the tree later that afternoon, closing the road through Sunday evening.
While cloud-to-ground lightning strikes can be fairly common, capturing it on camera isn't something we get to see every day. Perhaps take this as yet another reason you should be investing in a quality dash cam for your ride.