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Rocky Mountain National Park lightning kills Gregory Cardwell, Becky Telheit in two days

In recent days, we've posted about the series of lightning storms that have hit the Colorado, with one strike hitting so close to Arvada's Chad Greenlees that he was briefly knocked out while recording a video of the light show.

This incident pales in comparison with a pair of tragedies at Rocky Mountain National Park: Out-of-state visitors Becky Teilhet and Gregory Cardwell were killed by lightning strikes on consecutive days in spots located close to each other.

See also: Video: Chad Greenlees knocked out by lightning while recording lightning

At about 1:20 p.m. on Friday, July 11, according to an RMMP news release, a lightning strike took place on the Ute Crossing Trail, an area located off Trail Ridge Road between Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook.

Eight people suffered what are described as "a variety of injuries," with seven of them receiving treatment at Estes Park Medical Center after either being taken by ambulance or transporting themselves to the facility. However, Telheit, a 42-year-old from Yellow Springs, Ohio, died after the strike. She had been hiking with her husband and a friend, an RMNP spokeswoman reveals.

Just over 24 hours later, at 3:50 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, another lightning strike occurred near Rainbow Curve. This time, four people were hurt, with one of them -- a man subsequently identified by the RMNP as Cardwell, a 52-year-old from Scottsbluff, Nebraska -- succumbing to his wounds.

Cardwell was blessed with a close and deeply religious family, as indicated by this Facebook image in which he's featured:

He was also a big Broncos fan. Here's another Facebook item offering photographic evidence: Such incidents are hardly common at Rocky Mountain National Park. The last person to die from lightning there passed away in 2000, "when a technical climber was struck on the Diamond on Longs Peak," the park spokeswoman reveals.

The length of time between fatalities makes two deaths less than thirty hours apart near the same location that much more uncommon, not to mention terribly sad. Our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Becky Telheit and Gregory Cardwell.

Here's a CBS4 report about the incidents.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts