Lightning Kills Spotsylvania County Boy as Violent Storms Move Through Area

A 12-year-old boy from Northern Virginia is dead after he was struck by lightning while playing baseball. Another 12-year-old was also struck and is in the hospital. Video by AP
By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 4, 2009

A 12-year-old boy was struck by lightning and killed yesterday evening while playing catch with another boy on a ballfield south of Fredericksburg in Spotsylvania County, authorities said.

The other boy was critically injured in the lightning strike, which came as powerful thunderstorms raked much of the Washington region with hail, gusts of wind and downpours that caused trees to topple and roads to flood in spots.

The 12-year-old, Chelal Matos of Spotsylvania County, was struck at 6:26 p.m., said 1st Sgt. Liz Scott of the county sheriff's department.

She said that because of the weather, umpires had called off a baseball game and ordered participants off the field, which is two or three miles east of Interstate 95 and just north of Route 17.

Scott said the boy and his 11-year-old teammate stayed on the field under parents' supervision.

The boys were taken to Mary Washington Hospital, where the older boy was pronounced dead.

The younger was transferred to a Richmond hospital in "very critical" condition, Scott said.

She said it appeared that the 12-year-old was struck directly and that the bolt might have jumped from him to the younger boy.

The incident came on a second night of powerful thunderstorms.

Almost an inch and a half of rain fell at Reagan National Airport between 6 and 11 p.m. Rainfall was even heavier in western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun counties, as more than two inches fell at Dulles International Airport between 8 and 10 p.m.

Flash flooding was reported on Route 50 about a mile northeast of Chantilly. As much as a foot of water was flowing across the roadway just before 10 p.m.

Flooding was reported in the South Riding area of Loudoun County, with as much as 2 1/2 feet of water on Tall Cedars Parkway.

High water also was reported on Interstate 270 in the Rockville area, with two cars stalled.

About 11 p.m., power was out at about 4,400 homes and businesses in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Northern Virginia.

The National Weather Service said it would check today for a possible tornado touchdown yesterday evening in Page County, Va.

Hailstones ranging in size from marbles to quarters to golf balls and even baseballs were reported in parts of Virginia.

In the District, six trees were reported toppled near Rhode Island Avenue and Fourth Street NE.

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