Doctors stunned after Texas man survives lightning strike amid severe storms in Liberty County

KTRK logo
Monday, January 30, 2023
Texas man survives 1 in a million chance of being struck by lightning
A Texas man survived being struck by lightning after his work truck got stuck in mud amid severe storms in Liberty County.

NEWTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man who survived a lightning strike in Liberty County amid southeast Texas' severe storms said he's lucky to be alive.

Dale Dean, a truck driver who has hauled timber for 16 years, said his work day started like any other until he was struck by lightning.

The incident happened when his truck got stuck in the mud during the storms. Dean said he was attaching a skidder to tow his truck when lightning hit his vehicle, sending the current through the metal chain and into his body. Dean said he was knocked about three feet into a ditch.

"It was a real scary moment for me," Dean said. "All that flashed through my mind was, 'Man, you're not going to be able to do this no more.' Like, man - I kind of tear up when I talk about it like that."

Dale's coworker called their supervisor, and Dean called his wife, Beverly Dean, for help transporting him to the hospital.

"'Beverly I-' and she said, 'Let me call you right back.' And I quickly looked at my coworker and said, 'Oh my goodness, I'm about to die and she just said she's gonna call me back,'" Dale Dean said through laughter.

Doctors were stunned to see Dean walking. They told him since the lighting traveled through his body, he should have had a heart attack.

"I guess the first thing I didn't know was if he was dead or alive. So, proud to see him standing up when I got there," William Tyson, Dean's supervisor, said.

The odds of being struck by lightning in any given year are one in a million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"On our way home from the hospital, I reached over, and I grabbed his hand, and I thought, 'If it would've been different, I would have been coming home by myself.' And I'm just grateful that I was able to reach over and grab his hand," Dean's wife said.