RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — “Partygoers describe the lightning as coming up from the ground, and knocking everyone nearby down .”
Morgan Dean first told us the story six years ago right here on 8News.
“As they started to stand up they realized that one of the men was in cardiac arrest after that bolt hit.”
“I have some weird electrical things; my feet sometimes feel like I’m standing on hot asphalt for no reason. My eyes will just bug out sometimes for no reason, I don’t know why but that’s about it. I’m very blessed to be where I am today.” — Corey Dean.
Corey Dean was the man that was struck and is alive today to tell us his story thanks to the quick action of everyone around him. He doesn’t remember anything from the strike, so his story is a compilation of what other people have helped him piece together about that day.
Dean said, “It was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We had a cookout here at our neighbor’s house. The storm came up as we were playing some cornhole back here in the backyard so we went inside for a while, thought the storm had blown over, came back out to finish our game, and from there the lightning strike occurred.”
Dean said that from what his friends told him, the sun was shining when they headed back out.
“Because the lightning came behind the storm, which, as I found out after getting struck by lightning, is quite common,” he said. “My neighbor saw it happen. She happens to be an ER nurse so she ran over and started CPR….I didn’t have a heartbeat for about 10 minutes.”
Dean was taken to St. Francis and then moved to the VCU Medical Center’s Burn Unit. Six years later, he still has a few issues as a result of being struck.
“I have some weird electrical things; my feet sometimes feel like I’m standing on hot asphalt for no reason,” Dean explained. “My eyes will just bug out sometimes for no reason, I don’t know why but that’s about it. I’m very blessed to be where I am today. Many other lightning strike victims have many other lingering issues as they go on.”
Dean believes that a direct hit could have had a very different ending to that day.
“The best thing we can figure is this telephone line right here, either as the lightning came up from the ground which it does, or came down, it got into that telephone line and came around in that area,” he explained. “There was no visual thing out here that we could say, ‘oh that’s where the lightning struck.’ So the best we can figure is it maybe came up through that cable. Because the majority of that damage was in my feet and worked its way up.”
In a study done by John Jensenius, Jr., a lightning safety specialist at the National Weather Service, almost 2/3 of lightning deaths from 2006-2013 occurred by people enjoying outdoor leisure activities. It is a common belief that golfers are responsible for the greatest number of deaths, when in fact, it’s actually fishermen-accounting for more than three times the amount of golfers. It’s the men that accounted for 81 percent of lightning fatalities.
“The lord was on my side that day. And I thank my neighbor every year,” Dean said.Tune in on Friday, August 4 at 5:30 p.m. for 8News’ “Into the Storm: A Severe Weather Special.”Follow the 8News StormTracker forecast for updates.Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.