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S. Royalton Couple Survives Lightning Strike

Canaan — Sunday’s thunderstorms drenched the Upper Valley. For many people, it meant getting caught in a downpour.

For South Royalton residents Katrinia Ballou and Cory Danner, it meant getting struck by lightning — and living to tell about it.

Ballou along with her three children and her fiance, Danner, were seeking relief on the hot and muggy day at their favorite swimming hole on Goose Pond in the Mascoma River Valley when the storm forced them to retreat to their car. She had just bundled the children safely into the back seat of her Chevy Malibu when a bolt of lightning struck her car, shattering the windshield and knocking her fiance off his feet.

“I was blinded and I couldn’t hear anything. I just launched forward and shut the door,” Ballou said yesterday evening. “I needed to make sure they were safe.”

Fortunately, all three of her children were uninjured. Ballou said Danner, who remains hospitalized, was buckling in the two-year-old when the lightning struck, leaving him unresponsive at first.

When Danner awoke he couldn’t feel his left arm or his legs, said Ballou, 25, who suffered burns to her arm, hip and legs.

Last night, Ballou said she was still “a little shaken,” and Danner, a Mascoma River Valley native and South Royalton resident, was “doing fine,” but had not yet been released from the hospital.

“I don’t remember getting in my car. I don’t remember calling 911,” said Ballou.

Canaan Police Chief Samuel Frank said that the lightning “fried five cars” and also damaged a tree.

Lebanon resident Cigi Banker said she was at the boat launch at Goose Pond with her family when the lightning hit.

“We got to the cars and saw that (the cars) had all been fried, parts were everywhere,” said Cigi Banker, who added that she noticed that Danner was lying on the ground. Banker said that her brother-in-law, Matt Banker, was also hit by the lightning “but seems to be okay.”

“We all ended up getting in a stranger’s truck and they gave us a ride out of there,” Banker said. “It was just so bad.”

Cigi Banker described the lightning as “unbelievable.”

“It was so loud and bright, I don’t know how it went through six cars,” said Banker, whose 2013 Subaru Legacy was totaled in the strike.

“It’s all done,” said Banker. “It’s completely fried.”

Ben Conarck can be reached at 603-727-3213 or bconarck@vnews.com.

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