Utah softball coach dies after lightning strike at picnic

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 3, 2015 at 3:13 p.m.

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LEHI, Utah (AP) — A popular softball coach from Lehi has died after being shocked over the weekend during a family picnic when lightning hit a nearby tree.

Carla Grow, 50, died Wednesday night, said Alpine School District spokesman David Stephenson. Grow was an assistant softball coach at Lehi High School.

Grow is the first person killed by lightning in the state in more than three years. The last case was in July 2012, when a man was struck while taking shelter under a tree at a lake in Garfield County, said Eric Schoening, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Since 1950, there have been 66 lighting-strike deaths in Utah — an average of about one per year, National Weather Service data shows.

Most die like Grow, not from being directly struck, but from being shocked while standing nearby larger objects such as trees or poles, Schoening said.

The lightning strike that killed Grow occurred Sunday night during a microburst that a tree in the home where the family picnic was taking place, Lehi authorities said. Grow wasn't hit directly by the strike, but the shock sent her into cardiac arrest.

She was revived on scene and rushed to a nearby hospital. Three days later, she died.

Students, staff and parents are saddened by Grow's death, Stephenson said. She had worked at the school since 2013.

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