Man describes storm lifting car, toppling church steeple

WAVY/Kenny Becker

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A church in Virginia Beach lost its steeple during severe thunderstorms Thursday afternoon. And Travis Peszko saw it all go down.

Beachlawn Baptist Church sits at the corner of Norfolk Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue, and Peszko was driving in the area when he says the storm picked up his car.

“I was driving my car from my street on Maryland to the Junior Market. And as I’m turning in, it gets really windy, I see the steeple falling over, and all of a sudden I had no control over the car, the back of it just lifted up. Next thing I know, I’m rolling over and spinning,” he said.

He said the steeple fell down simultaneously and landed just to the right of his BMW. The bumper of his car, however, flew in another direction and landed in a yard about 30 yards away.

“It felt really surreal, just really powerful water, and there was pretty much nothing I could do about it,” Peszko said.

A nearby homeowner said he saw the whole thing from his front porch. He said he felt and heard the storm come through in two phases.

“Hard … a real hard blow. Then it slacked off. Then the other blow came in behind it and pushed it over, wires started falling. I went in the house,” the man said.

“When I got out of the car, it was still really bad conditions. That might have been the second phase, but I was kind of blacked out for that part of it, Peszko said.

He said he quickly got out of his car and headed to a deli across the street where they gave him a sweatshirt and left him recover.

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