Michigan Car Bombing Dad to 911: 'My Car Blew Up With Two Kids'

Erik Chappell's Volvo exploded as he drove his two sons to football practice.

ByABC News
September 22, 2011, 8:10 AM

Sept. 22, 2011 — -- Through excruciating pain, Erik Chappell called 911 and told the dispatcher: "My car blew up with two kids."

Chappell and his sons, 11 and 13, were the victims of a car bombing on Tuesday. Chappell's Volvo exploded as he drove the boys to football practice in Monroe, Mich.

"I've got two significant leg injuries...they're chewed up pretty good," he told the 911 dispatcher. "Deep tissue wounds. They are bleeding. I need someone here now."

Chappell and his sons are expected to survive the attack.

The sons' principal posted a statement on the school website saying that she had spoken with Chapell's wife, and that her husband and sons were doing well and recovering.

"They are all in stable conditions and are in good spirits," Michelle Sontag wrote. "All are expected to have a full recovery. I have spoken with Mrs. Chappell twice today, and she has kept me abreast of their improving conditions."

Sontag said that the family is asking for prayers for healing and comfort.

Authorities believe the bombing was a criminal attack and not terrorism. Police say whoever planted the bomb placed it in such a way that it would inflict as much damage as possible.

"They were very, very blessed not to have been killed. They're seriously injured, but they're still alive and that means everything," said Donald Dawkins, spokesman for Michigan's Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Chappell, 42, is a lawyer who primarily handles business litigation in Ohio and Michigan. He also practices family law and is known to handle messy divorce cases.

When the car erupted into a fireball, burning down to just its metal frame, several panicked witnesses called 911.

"By the time I got there, the car was completely engulfed," said witness Edwin Holly. "The one boy said, oh daddy, my foot keeps hurting... well, he couldn't understand, I don't think. I think he was probably still in shock or whatever."

Somehow Chappell was able to pull his boys out of the car. Police are still searching for who is responsible for planting the car bomb.

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to the suspect's capture.

"They're going to be looking at this most likely as a targeted attack. They're going to look at his personal and professional life…who his former clients are, who his current clients are, what are his most controversial cases," said ABC News' legal analyst Dan Abrams.

Abrams said that one big asset in the investigation is Chappell himself. Since he was lucky enough to survive the attack, he'll be able to aid investigators.