Former Jacksonville University student killed by lightning strike in South Florida

    Former Jacksonville University student killed by lightning strike in South Florida

    DAVIE, Fla. – A 19-year-old man was killed by a lightning strike Sunday in South Florida, according to News4JAX partner station WPLG.

    Ethan Lawrence was on the Jacksonville University cross-country team last fall. He later transferred to Nova Southeastern University in Broward County after his girlfriend gave birth to their daughter in December, according to WSVN.

    Lawrence was hoping to make that school’s cross-country team, so he was out on a training run Sunday morning at a park in Davie.

    Several hours later, when his mother tracked him and his location didn’t change, she sent her husband out to look for their son.

    “And then the detectives came over to my car and told me ‘I don’t know if there is any easy way to say this at all, so I’m just going to tell you that unfortunately, your son was running, he was struck by lightning and he didn’t make it,’” Patrick Lawrence, Ethan’s father, told WPLG.

    RELATED | The dark side of lightning: When it strikes and causes harm or death

    The following day, the family went back to the park, hoping to find answers to some of their questions about his sudden death.

    “We went to the site and Ethan led me to where he was struck. I saw the hole on the ground and I looked down and my husband said ‘Look, his cross,’” she said. “That’s him telling me ‘Mom, I’m OK, I’m OK, you be OK,’” Lourdes Lawrence, Ethan’s mother, said.

    The victim was loved by many. He recently became a father. He had a 6-month-old baby girl — and his girlfriend is devastated.

    “The last thing he sent me was a picture of the baby…her sleeping,” Andrea Medina, Ethan’s girlfriend, told WPLG.

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