3 students hospitalized after lightning strike at Round Lake Heights bus stop
Three students from Lake Villa's Palombi Middle School are recovering from injuries suffered Thursday morning when lightning struck nearby as they waited for their school bus.
The blast was reported about 7:16 a.m. near Ottawa and Lotus drives in Round Lake Heights, authorities said.
Charlene Monk, whose 13-year-old daughter, Carrington, was among the injured students, said her daughter told her she and two other girls went under a tree for shelter when a strong storm moved in.
"They saw lightning strike and they all fell backward," Monk said.
Carrington, an eighth-grader, briefly lost consciousness after the strike but was alert and greeted her parents when they rushed to the scene from their Round Lake Heights home, her mom said. All three girls were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where Monk expected them to remain overnight for observation.
"I'm thankful that they are all OK," she said.
Nine Lake Villa District 41 students in all were waiting at the bus stop when the lightning struck, Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Tony Carraro said.
Among them was seventh-grader Nate Maxwell. He'd been waiting at the bus stop when his mother pulled up because of the approaching storm. Minutes later, lightning struck near the stop and Nate saw three classmates on the ground.
"I was scared for them and I was happy I was in the car," Nate said after school Thursday.
Nate called 911, along with a parent in another car. A Round Lake Heights police officer arrived first and found one student unresponsive and two alert, Carraro said.
"We moved all the kids we could move to a nearby garage to get out of the storm," he said. "Then, we called four ambulances to come in and assist." After ambulances took the three injured girls to Condell, the six remaining students either went to school or home with their parents, Carraro said.
"This is definitely not something you want to hear about," added Carraro, who has children who attend Palombi.
Charlene Monk said she initially couldn't believe what happened to her daughter and the other students.
"It's just so rare," she said.
Alex Barbour, District 41's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said the district educates students on weather-related safety.
"I'm not sure if there is anything we as a district could have done differently to avoid this from happening," he said.
Palombi students on Thursday wrote letters to their injured peers, which Nate said he volunteered to deliver.