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EC woman survives lightning strike

Sun Advocate reporter

An East Carbon woman is recovering following a lightning strike just west of East Carbon on Saturday.

"We were out with the whole family looking for jack rabbits when the clouds started closing in on us," explained Toni Madrid a mother of four from East Carbon. "The whole experience was quite freaky."

According to Madrid, her husband Rick and other family members were about 100 yards ahead of her near ECDC when the rain clouds broke. As she was with several small children, Madrid started back to her vehicle before the others in her party.

"I raced back to the Jeep with my kids and was lifting my 6-year-old in because the rain just exploded," she said. "There was lightning and thunder all around us. There were four separate strikes in our immediate vicinity before I got clobbered. I remember putting my hand on the door and then everything went black."

Madrid was thrown approximately 10 feet from her vehicle and was reportedly unconscious for a couple of minutes.

"When I came to, I couldn't even breathe," she explained. "Everything was paralyzed and it took a few minutes before I could even talk."

Madrid's oldest son Justus, 10, saw the whole thing and told his mother that after a large boom she had taken flight. Her other son Jerrin, 6, reported having a "tingling" sensation in his buttocks from where Madrid was lifting him into the Jeep when the strike occurred.

According to East Carbon Police Officer Shawn Sackett, Madrid's husband Rick drove her to the Hwy. 123 following the incident.

"The rain and lightning on the C-Canyon road was so thick we never would have found them. Rick transported her to the main road and she was transported via ambulance at that time."

While her injuries are reportedly temporary, Madrid said the experience was intense.

"It looks like I've had a stroke," she laughed. "I'm trying to have a good attitude but my face is numb, the left side is pulled down and it feels like I have cotton in my ears. I also have marks on my body which I have learned is called feathering. They mark the passage of electricity through a person's body."

It is Madrid's best guess that the strike impacted the Jeep directly and then passed through her.

According to the Associated Press, about 24,000 people are killed by lightning each year. Between 40 and 50 die in the U.S. annually, mostly from direct strikes.

"On the bright side, I'm feeling better but the Jeep is fried," said Madrid.

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