Lightning Strike Survivor Shares His Story - KMSP-TV

Lightning Strike Survivor Shares His Story

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Tampa, Fla.-(Fox 13)- Dillon Steponaitis sat on his couch Thursday, with a slightly-burned boot on one foot, and on the other, a hospital sock covering a foot that can barely move and is still partially numb.

"My foot's a little dirty, I'm not going to lie to you," he said as he pealed back the bright green sock covering his right foot. "I can move my big toe a little bit. It's coming back slowly but I just don't want to put pressure on it."

Steponaitis, 21, was fine a day earlier except his best friend, Matthew Spence, needed help finding his lost dog that had been given to him by his father who recently passed away.

As Dillon raced over to Spence's Tampa home to help, a thunderstorm rolled in overhead.

"I just remember standing in the carport with my arm around him like this, like 'bro, I'll help you find your dog,' and then..." Dillon's voice trailed off as he thought about what happened next. "I just remember thunder, just the end of thunder."

It was the sound of a lightning bolt crashing nearby.

"We literally watched the lightning bolt smack right next to his car," Spence said. "I ain't never, never been knocked back on my butt like that before. It sent me literally three feet back. Holding onto my friend, we both flew from this side of my carport all the way to the other side."

The lightning strike knocked Dillon unconscious and Spence had to carry him into the house where he eventually came to.

"It is scary! Nothing was right. My motor functions weren't right and that's what scared me the most," Steponaitis said. "That's what scared me the most is my brain couldn't tell my ligaments to do what it wanted to do."

Dillon spent several hours in the hospital before he was released. When he woke up Thursday, he realized he'd also broken his hand. But he knows he's fortunate his life didn't end in a flash.

"Oh my God. Somebody was looking out for me," he said. "It just opens your eyes a little bit. Life is pretty short and anything can happen at any moment, so take the good times when you get them."


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