Driver recalls being caught in tornado

Posted at 11:32 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 23:32:10-05

Caught in the center of the storm, a Palm City man describes the brief, but terrifying moments when a tornado touched down right before his eyes.

Chris Ogle says he was driving south on the Florida Turnpike Wednesday, when an EF-1 tornado touched down while he was driving to work in Coconut Creek.

"If you had told me I was going to be a part of that, and see what I saw and everybody was going to walk away, I would say there's no way," Ogle said.

The tornado packed wind speeds up to 100 MPH according to meteorologists, strong enough to flip cars and send debris flying.

Ogle described traffic coming to a standstill. "Stuff started catching my eye. Going across my windshield was all this debris. Some of the debris was repeating itself," Ogle described.

He and about 5 other cars were tossed around in the wind, he said.

"I watched the tornado just slam, like taking a hand and just mashing it down, an 18-wheeler. And at the same time that it hit the 18- wheeler, the hood of another 18 -wheeler coming off the ramp flew off and you see that like 200 feet in the air."

He recalls signs and debris circling around his truck. "I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz. I'm not kidding," Ogle said.

The wind flipped an SUV that slammed into Ogle's truck. His truck was pushed, but he wasn't seriously injured.

The woman driving the SUV, however, was trapped and terrified, according to Ogle.

"Her windshield was shattered, her door was shattered, but she couldn't get out. She was laying on the ground on that side," Ogle described.

He says two other men helped him get her out of the SUV once the storm passed. He looked at other nearby drivers giving him a thumbs-up that they were okay.

"The three of us look at each other and say 'oh my gosh. We're all alive'."

Ogle is now left driving a rental car, and says he has some minor aches and pains.

But, being back at home safely has him mainly feeling grateful.

"I'm laying low and just getting back to normalcy tomorrow."