Man caught in Oklahoma tornado tells survival story – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The powerful tornado that ripped through I-35 in Marietta, Oklahoma, left a North Texas husband seriously injured.

Jeff Frederickson and his wife were on their way back home to Colleyville after driving to Minnesota to pick up his family’s prized 1971 Thunderbird.

They knew storms were brewing in Oklahoma on Saturday and felt it was safer to continue driving.

A weather app showed storms on either side.

When they reached Marietta, the storm intensified and traffic came to a standstill.

“The debris flies around and hits my truck,” he remembers. “I don’t know how bad it’s going to be. I said: You go to your ditch; I go to mine and as I said that the 18 wheeler starts skipping the sidewalk.

Frederickson blames himself for not realizing his wife was tied to something and unable to run to the ditch.

By then the tornado was over Interstate 35.

“I’m literally running after the semi to get to the ditch as it’s going up,” he said.

By the time Frederickson landed in the ditch, he had suffered serious injuries, including 13 broken ribs (six ribs near his heart and lungs were shattered but had not punctured any vital organs).

Frederickson also suffered a large gash on the back of his head, which later required ten staples to close.

“I couldn’t yell at my wife, so the first thing I did was pray to God. I said God, I need your help to get through this situation. Help me and my wife both get through this situation,” he said. “I looked down and my thumb was split in two. I could see my bone and I said, Dear Lord Jesus, don’t let me lose my thumb.”

He was in and out of consciousness, but remembers somehow walking from ambulance to ambulance. Frederickson was eventually flown to Medical City Denton, where he is recovering.

Amazingly, his wife walked away with minor injuries.

“The one thing I took away from this is that I probably shouldn’t be here right now,” an emotional Frederickson said. “Several doctors said you’re lucky to be alive, and I say it’s not luck, it’s God.”

When it comes to being in the tornado’s so-called “death zone,” says Frederickson, “the movies were pretty much perfect.” The way you see it when you watch ‘Twister’ and see the cyclone and all that going around… Seeing a car literally get sucked in, that’s probably the most amazing, not the craziest thing I’ve seen in my life.”

Equally incredible is that two weeks prior to the tornado, Frederickson almost immediately recalled a dream in which he lay in a ditch as a tornado passed by.

“In my mind I wonder if God was trying to reach me,” he says now.

Frederickson is grateful to be alive and determined not to waste it.

“If there’s something God wants me here on earth for, I need to find out,” he said.

Frederickson’s recovery continues to amaze doctors in Denton.

“When the doctor told me this morning, the first thing I said to him was: Do you believe in God?” he asked. “And he said: I’m starting.”

The family has set up a fundraising site to help with medical bills and the time when Frederickson is unable to return to his job in Fort Worth.

Click here to help.