Colorado man blown off sport bike by lightning strike - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Colorado man blown off sport bike by lightning strike

PICTURE BY THEDENVERCHANNEL.COM PICTURE BY THEDENVERCHANNEL.COM

AURORA, Colo. - A motorcycle helmet is likely what saved a man's life Friday night after he was struck by lightning while on his sport bike.

Eugene Villines, of Greeley, is now in the burn unit at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. He is alert and sharing his story alongside his wife and his 9-year-old son. Villines has three broken ribs, a partially punctured lung and serious scrapes and bruises.

“All things considered, I’m feeling good,” Villines said Sunday night.

“He looks much better now,” said his son, Logan.

Villines was heading home to Greeley Friday night from Buckley Air Force Base.

“From what it looked like, I had missed the storm,” he said.

But not entirely. Villines, an active Army Guard Reserve, remembers passing the 136th Avenue exit on northbound I-25.

“I just don’t remember the next one,” said Villines.

Eyewitnesses say there was a bright flash. Villines appeared to stand straight up in the air on his motorcycle and was then thrown from his bike.

“Like somebody was to Tasered or something,” he said. “Not a whole lot of memory of the whole thing.”

In the immediate minutes and hours after, it was touch and go. Villines had bleeding on his brain.

“He’s a walking miracle,” said his wife, Katie Villines.

He was also wearing a helmet and motorcycle gloves and gear.

“You won’t catch me going anywhere without it,” he said. “I’m a big fan of my gear.”

Doctors believe the lightning likely entered his back and exited this his right hand which is now bandaged.

He gets choked up talking about the Good Samaritans who stopped to help.

“I heard there were maybe five or six people that stopped,” said Katie. “I believe one was even an ICU nurse. We are grateful to all of you. Thank you for not just leaving my husband on the side of the road.”

“Just, thank you,” said Eugene. “I have a family and… I appreciate it.”

“Thank you for not leaving my husband on the side of the road,” added Katie.

Eugene says the doctors and nurses here at UH have been phenomenal.
          
As for ever riding a bike again, he said that's a conversation he'll have with his wife after he leaves the hospital, but he admits it’s an argument he may lose.

“I don’t think I can handle another phone call like that,” said Katie.

“Somebody up there has something else for me that – well – I still need to be here for a little longer, I guess,” said Villines.

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