Take a second and look at the following picture. Stare. Hard. Can you tell what it is?
If you guessed it’s a car, you’re correct. That’s right: the mangled and twisted pile of metal is actually a BMW — or rather, what’s left over of a BMW. How did it get that way? It’s just one of the sober reminders of the EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20.
The wreckage is currently on display inside the vendor fair at Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon eventin Salt Lake City, Utah. Beck’s charity, Mercury One, procured it after being one of the first disaster relief organizations on-site to help the victims of the storm.
But how, exactly, did the charity come about getting the incredible piece of history?
“We’ve had a really good relationship with Sheriff Joe Lester of Cleveland County, Okla., and we gave him a call and were like, ‘Look, Joe, we have this really cool idea: Can we get a mangled car in Salt Lake?’” Mercury One intern and BYU student Joel Temple, who helped lead the procurement effort, told TheBlaze. “And he said, ‘I’m turning around right now! I’m going to the nearest salvage yard and I’m going to find you guys a car.’ And he pulled out all the stops for us.”
But the sheriff’s help didn’t end there.
“You see the red dolly it’s on?” Temple asked. “He made that for us.”
That’s quite a feat when you consider just how poor of shape the vehicle is in. Another Mercury intern, Christopher Alexander, said that after the storm rescuers would go through and mark each vehicle with an orange “X” or the word “clear.” But because the car was so badly damaged, there was no flat surface to even do that.
And a close-up look reveals exactly what he’s talking about. The only recognizable feature showing it’s a BMW is a dilapidated logo on the steering wheel. The car’s roof has buckled and collapsed onto the seats. And frighteningly, there are even remnants of a child’s car seat in the back.
While Temple says it’s unknown if anyone was actually in the vehicle when the storm hit, the signs appear to show no one was (i.e. there are no marks where the “jaws of life” were used or no pry marks where someone had to be pulled out). But if there was, he says, “there’s no way they made it out.”
You can see the car in detail in the pictures we’ve gathered below:
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeSheriff Joe Lester of Cleveland County, Okla., was pivotal in getting the car to Salt Lake City.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeImagine the force it took to completely destroy this 2000 BMW 328i.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeAnother view of the completely mangled car.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeA shot looking toward the back of the car.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeA view from “behind” the car looking toward the steering wheel.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeA view of the car seat stuck in the back.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeAnother view of the car seat stuck under some of the mangled metal.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeAn unexploded air bag in the car. How it did not go off is a mystery.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeBroken glass is still visible where the windshield once was.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeA view of where the hood and the engine should be.
Jonathon M. Seidl/TheBlazeA close-up of the steering wheel.
For now, Mercury One doesn’t plan on keeping the car after the Man in the Moon event. “I don’t know where we’d put it,” Temple chuckled.
If you’d like to donate to Mercury One’s relief efforts, you can do so on the organization’s website.