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Grandparents struck by lightning at Henrico’s Pocahontas MS, survive injuries

Published: May. 7, 2015 at 12:18 AM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2015 at 5:21 AM EDT
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Byrd Middle School parent Tracey Leverty points out where lightning hit
Byrd Middle School parent Tracey Leverty points out where lightning hit
Tracey Leverty, first to dial 911 when lightning struck Henrico grandparents
Tracey Leverty, first to dial 911 when lightning struck Henrico grandparents
Emma Leverty, witnessed aftermath of lightning strike
Emma Leverty, witnessed aftermath of lightning strike

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Lightning struck two grandparents leaving a middle school soccer game Wednesday, minutes after a storm cell quickly developed over Western Henrico County.

The bolt crashed into the parking lot of Pocahontas Middle School at 5:57 p.m., sending a 64-year-old woman flying feet from where she was standing.

The lightning strike also knocked her husband to the ground, with both reported in stable condition and conscious at VCU Medical Center late Wednesday.

In an interview at the scene, Byrd Middle School parent Tracey Leverty said she was watching her daughter's soccer game against Pocahontas, when the storm clouds began to build.

Leverty saw the two victims about to get into their red pickup truck, and then heard what sounded like an explosion.

“It was louder than a cannon,” said Leverty. “He was on the ground, and she was on her back, three to four feet where she had been standing.”

Leverty was the first to dial 911, as another parent took the woman's pulse and found a faint heartbeat.

“Her eyes were open and kind of darting around,” Leverty said. “She was definitely conscious and that meant everything.”

Seventh grader Emma Leverty just finished playing in the soccer match, when the bolt struck yards away.

"I was just sprinting over, and she was just lying on the ground," Emma said in an interview Wednesday. "I was about to cry, and my dad was talking to her and my mom was on the phone with 911."

Medics arrived within three minutes, with the woman's husband able to stand after the lighting hit.

“There was some sort of charred area, burned on her shirt,” Leverty said. “She had bitten her tongue, so there was a bit of blood. But other than that she looked relatively unharmed.”

“Her husband said he could barely feel anything below his knees.”

The victims had a granddaughter playing in the soccer match, which ended minutes before the lightning strike.

The storm cell quickly brought a downpour across Short Pump after 6 p.m., soaking first responders and parents who were the first to help.

“We were all drenched, but that didn't matter,” Leverty said. “We were all stunned and we're just glad to know that they're ok now.”

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