Local News

Lightning Struck and Killed Texan Jogger

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Tony Maples Photography


On Sunday evening, Michelle Ann Wolfe was struck by lightning while walking along a trail in northwest Austin called River Place Trail. She was killed by the strike at only 37-years-old.

Later that evening, her body was discovered by a runner. Travis County Sheriff’s Office Detectives determined that Wolfe was next to a tree on the high elevation trail that was hit by lightning which traveled through the ground and electrocuted her. They found a fallen tree limb along with burnt bushes near her body.

Though this was a freak accident that had not occurred on the trail before, it proves that it’s always possible and worth being prepared if you see lightning in the clouds while on a walk. EMS Commander Mike Benavides explained some safety precautions to KEYE. “You’re putting your feet together, you’re getting in a low crouch position, your chin tucked in and your hands over your ears with your eyes closed. It’s all about reducing your footprint,” he stated.

Creator of the River Place Trail, Art Jistel, walks the path nearly every day as well. He’s upset about the terrible accident, telling KEYE, “It’s just one of those situations where you’re extremely sad for her and her family.”