CENTRE, Ala. (WHNT) — Roy Dale Rogers was seconds away from death.
“I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. A lot of thinking,” Rogers said Thursday.
The assistant chief of the Centre Water Treatment Plant took the front sidewalk out to his car during Monday afternoon’s storm and closed the driver’s door six seconds before 3:55.
Five seconds after the clock struck 3:55, the metal roof of the third floor of the building crashed onto the sidewalk and slammed into the side of Rogers’ car.
“I was taking a late lunch break actually and had noticed the wind had been gusting off an on, and I thought I’d get out to my car in between wind gusting,” Rogers said.
“I noticed the trees were blowing real bad but I never expected the third floor roof to come off toward my car. All I heard was the wind going through the trees,” he said.
Rogers did not think the weather was a problem. He put on flip-flops before he went out.
In his 14th year of employment at the water treatment plant, Rogers normally parks in front of the building. He got the silver Pontiac eight years ago, and got new tires in December.
He said he cared for it like it was his baby, and on Monday it cared for him, providing protection as the metal roof landed where he stood less than 15 seconds earlier.
“I had just put it in drive and buckled up is when the roof hit the car. It took me a few seconds to realize what was going on. My first instinct was just to try to get out of the car. I had to try to put the car in drive and pull on up and I crawled out the passenger side door.”
The driver’s side door shifted in on him. His shoulder is hurt, but he said he will be okay.
“I’ve realized that I’m glad it totaled my car instead of taking me out,” Rogers said.
“In the future I think I’ll wait 10 to 30 minutes until the storm passes to make sure I’ll be safe to get home, that’s the one thing I guess I’ve learned through all of this is to sit through the storm before you get out on the road. ”
Rogers said the insurance company declared his car totaled, but the water treatment plant loaned him a company truck until he can get a replacement.
The water treatment plant has several surveillance cameras and Rogers’ boss, Kelly Matthews, posted the video of the close call on the WHNT News 19 Facebook page.