Sheriff: Lightning strikes deputy’s patrol vehicle while on duty

(Lander, Wyo.) – A Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy’s patrol vehicle was struck by lightning on the evening of July Fourth, Sheriff Skip Hornecker told the County Commission on Tuesday.

The patrolman was reportedly driving down Paradise Valley Road when the vehicle was hit by a lightning bolt. Hornecker said the the blast came right as another vehicle was passing him and he thought he was being shot at. “He is very fortunate he was in a vehicle and not on a traffic stop,” he said, noting that the deputy was not injured. “Everyone’s OK, except the vehicle.”

Hornecker said the bolt has possibly fried all of the vehicle’s electronics. The radio went dead immediately, and the antenna was reportedly blown right off the truck. “It’s possible it may not be a total loss, but we’re still trying to figure that out,” he said. The county’s vehicle maintenance department and radio technicians have begun to assess the damage.