NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. (PIX11) -- Todd Margiotta was driving to his father-in-law's birthday bash during the height of the violent thunderstorm when all of a sudden lightning struck this tree on River Road.
A foot wide limb, weighing perhaps 600 pounds, came crashing through Todd's front windshield.
"Crazy rain, crazy lightning. It was a flash," Margiotta told PIX11. "I don't remember seeing anything, or hearing anything. It just came right through my windshield."
Todd's wife was driving the car right in front of his, with their two young daughters.
She couldn't believe what she saw in her rear view mirror.
"I ran over to see if he was conscious," Sarah Margiotta said. "It was a little scary opening that door. I found all good things."
After Todd's brush with mortality, the birthday party for Todd's father in-law turning 71 took on special meaning, knowing that an inch or two either way for that tree limb and this celebration could have turned into a very different family gathering.
"I thank God he's all right," Deborah Lynch, Todd's mother-in-law told PIX 11.
"The car you can replace, these people you can't," Andrew Lynch, Todd's father-in-law, said."a different kind of birthday you might say."
"I like to think my mother was watching over me," Margiotta said. "It could have been a lot worse. I was very fortunate," he added.