Attacks of Nature: Killed by Lightning

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Lightning is an incredible force of nature.

Each spark can cross more than five miles in length, reach temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and contain up to 100 million voltes of electricity.

According to the National Weather Service, since 1940, there have been 62 lightning related deaths in Wisconsin.

And in the midst of Severe Weather and Tornado Awareness Week, that's an important number to consider.

Liz Hayes continues her special series, 'Attacks of Nature.' Here, she explains how mother nature can change lives forever, as a young man is ripped from his family and friends by a devastating strike of lightning.

On July 24, 2006, members of the Antigo-based hard rock band Below Logic were working on their brand new bus.

They were going to use it to take their music across the country in the hopes of making it big.

But before they could, the unthinkable happened.

"We were in a hurry to get all the stuff in the bus because it was set up outside and Curt had ran back into the house and me and Bill were loading stuff on the bus and when we got on the bus we heard a really loud explosion," said Dave Krueger, 29, of Below Logic.

A storm had brewed out of nowhere and Curtis Meyer, 24, had been struck by lightning. He died instantly.

"I can't explain the noise that I heard but it was really loud. Next thing I look outside, and Curt was lying on the ground," Krueger said.

Hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity struck a giant tree in Curt's backyard.

He was running for shelter when the lightning entered his body.

Krueger couldn't believe what had happened.

"One minute we're working on our bus, following our dream of being a musician and next thing you know, boom, he's gone in a blink of an eye like that. It's been tough. It's been really hard," he said.

Curt was known as a quiet, down-to-earth, well-mannered guy who loved music and the outdoors, and dreamt of becoming a rock star.

"He did a lot for a lot of people and he knew a lot of people and he didn't go on telling people about it, you just heard about it from other people. He wanted the band to go out and try it and see what would happen," said Bob Meyer, Curt's father.

His parents, who were so proud of their son, were overwhelmed with emotion.

"I was told Curt was struck by lighting, all I could think was he must have been on the golf course....and when you find out that it happened just in his yard, right at his house, that just doesn't make sense. It's not supposed to happen," said Ruth Meyer, his mother.

And now everytime Krueger hears the low rumble of thunder, he's reminded of how precious life is.

"It's changed my life big time in the fact that now if it's storming, if it's thundering and lightning I'm not outside," he said.

The Meyers have started an Antigo chapter of The Compassionate Friends.

"It's so hard losing a child," said Bob.

It's a grief support group that has helped the couple cope with their son's death.

"I think because we know the pain of losing a child, it just does us good to reach out and help others who may be going through the same thing," Ruth said.

And now all three want people to know that lightning is incredibly dangerous, and that if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can be killed in a mere moment.

"Mother nature's always been strong. I believe the storms and that are getting worse," Bob said.

The day before he died, Curtis wrote an email to a new friend.

In it he writes, "I like to think of myself as a moral man. I believe in God and in doing the right thing. When I die I want people to think of me as a good, respectable person that never gave up on life."

And that's exactly how we will.

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