Caught In The Storm: Young looks back on harrowing experience after Friday’s storm

Published 10:13 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pastor Brandon Young

Pastor Brandon Young

For Pastor Brandon Young of Hampton, what was supposed to be a relaxing evening out on his motorcycle ended up being a ride that he will never forget.
Friday, Young, who is a pastor at Harmony Freewill Baptist Church in Hampton, rode out to West End Fire Department in Elizabethton to meet with a friend.
Young said that he knew a storm was approaching and decided to head back towards his home on Gap Creek Road.
“At this time, it was starting to get dark, but it hadn’t started raining or anything,” Young said.
The storm that Young was racing home ended up causing wide spread in Carter County and had winds between 70 and 80 mph. Young pulled out onto Highway 67 and said that he sat in 10 minutes worth of traffic before continuing his hurried journey back home.
“I was a little nervous to be honest and I knew the storm was coming,” Young said. “It kept getting darker and darker, and the wind was starting to pick up. I finally made it down to Gap Creek.”
“‘I cut onto Gap Creek road where the old Gap Creek comes out onto the new part,” Young continued. “It started full force, and I thought that maybe I could out run it. I just kind of hunkered down and started rolling towards Hampton.”
As Young made his way down Gap Creek Road, he started noticing cars with their flashers on and then he noticed what was happening in the sky, something that terrified him.
“I looked ahead of me, and there was a cloud and every thing that was in the air, debris-wise, was circling in a funnel in front of me,”
Young said. “To be honest, I didn’t know if should drop the bike and jump into a ditch. I really didn’t know what to do. It just caught me off guard, and the rain was coming down so hard. I had the visor on my helmet down and it was very hard to see. All of the debris was circulating. There was something large and brown circulating. I don’t know what it was. It didn’t look like leaves and I don’t know what it was, but it was circling. There were tree limbs flying across the road. I have spoked wheels and I was afraid that it would throw me over the handle bars.”
Young said he slowed down to 20 mph and kept pushing forward on his journey home, and then something happened that he will never forget.
“All of the sudden, this huge gust picked the bike up with me on it and set me on the other side of the road, facing traffic,” Young said.
“Honestly, it was just a near death experience.”
“All I could think is, ‘I got to get to a house. I’ve to get inside,” Young added.
After getting his bike back on the right side of the road, Young travelled down to Jim Elliot Road, where he turned in before coming to a brick house with a carport.
The Pastor parked his bike in the carport and knocked on the door.
An elderly gentleman answered the door.
“He told me I could park my bike out there,” Young said. “He said I could come in and get dry and get warm. He then allowed me to drive his car with him. He didn’t feel comfortable driving the car. I left my bike there and later went back and got once the storm was passed.”
Young said that he has seen bad storms before, but had never had an experience like he had Friday, an experience he said that he hopes he never has again.
“I had never been in anything like this and I never want to go through anything like it ever again,” he said. “I knew the storms were coming, and I thought I could get home before they hit. I am just glad that I did not have my ten-year-old or my wife on the back of the bike.”
“I am just grateful to God that he spared my life, because once it picked me up I didn’t know where I was going.”

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