1 dead, 1 injured in separate lightning strikes Wednesday


Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.

A southwest Florida construction worker has died and a Key West police officer is recovering from injuries after they were each struck by lightning in separate incidents Wednesday.

Construction worker dies after lightning strike

NAPLES, Fla. — A construction worker in southwest Florida has died after being struck by lightning while he was climbing down scaffolding.

Collier County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Karie Partington says Robert Wiley died at the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Partington tells the Naples Daily News that Wiley and other constructions working at a Naples home saw bad weather approaching and decided to seek shelter. That's when Wiley was struck.

Partington says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will determine whether any charges should be filed against Wiley's employers.

The National Weather Service has recorded two fatal lightning strikes in Florida so far this year. The state led the country with five lightning deaths last year.

Key West officer recovering after lightning strike

KEY WEST, Fla. — Key West Police say a motorcycle officer is recovering after being injured in a lightning strike.

Police spokeswoman Alyson Crean says a bolt of lightning either struck Officer Deglys Chavarria or struck near him as he was riding his department-issued motorcycle Wednesday morning.

Crean tells The Key West Citizen that Chavarria was alert and conscious when he was taken to a hospital.

A woman selling copies of the newspaper says she saw a flash of light when the lightning struck. Lou Ann Carnell says Chavarria was able to steer his motorcycle into a nearby gas station and called for help himself.

Police Chief Donie Lee says last year one officer was struck by lightning and another reported that his vehicle had been struck, but neither was seriously injured.

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