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The Lufkin News

Lufkin IHOP employee dies after being struck by lightning outside restaurant

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  • Lightning strike

    This is the hole left in the IHOP parking lot where lightning left a woman's foot and entered the ground after she was struck around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to officials on the scene.

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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:23 pm | Updated: 11:01 pm, Thu May 22, 2014.

An employee of the IHOP restaurant in Lufkin died after being struck by lightning while standing outside the restaurant Tuesday night, according to a Lufkin Police spokesman.

The employee, who was in her 30s, was taken to Woodland Heights Medical Center by Lufkin Fire paramedics following the incident that happened around 10:30 p.m., according to a witness account and Lufkin Police Lt. Ronny LaRue. Medical personnel were attempting to transport her to an out-of-town trauma center, but the medical helicopter could not fly because of the weather. She died at the Lufkin hospital, according to Lufkin Police Lt. Ronny LaRue.

The woman had been holding an umbrella as she stood outside during the storm, according to LaRue. He said lightning entered her upper torso and exited her feet.

Witness Tanner Dorsett said he heard and then saw an explosion followed by sparks flying off the woman and her umbrella.

“We saw it and then ran to her. It knocked her on the ground and at first it didn’t look like she was breathing,” Dorsett said. “Within a few seconds she was breathing again. She was conscious and alert when they put her in the ambulance. It wasn’t what you would expect from someone who had just been struck by lightning.”

LaRue said he could not yet release the woman's name.

Jessica Cooley’s email address is jcooley@lufkindailynews.com.

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