Cellphone video captures bolt of lightning striking I-15 within feet of car in Southern Utah

SOUTHERN UTAH — A motorist traveling along Interstate 15 during a Southern Utah storm last week experienced a heart-pounding thrill when a lightning bolt struck the edge of the freeway directly in front of him. What’s more, the motorist captured the lightning strike on video via his cellphone.

Marquez Jessup was traveling north on I-15 from Cedar City Tuesday, heading home to Beaver around 5 p.m.

Screenshot of rare video footage that captured a lightning strike on the edge of northbound Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah, March 22, 2016 | Video courtesy of Marquez Jessup, St. George News
Screenshot of rare video footage that captured a lightning strike on the edge of northbound Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah, March 22, 2016 | Video courtesy of Marquez Jessup, St. George News

“I could see that there was a storm coming in,” he said, “but I had to get home.”

As Jessup was driving, he said his girlfriend called him to ask if he was safe and to inquire about what the weather was like.

“As soon as I got off the phone with her,” he said, “I was going to send her a Snapchat of the storm and (as) soon as I took my phone out, the cloud-to-ground hit about 20 feet in front of me.”

Jessup said the motorist behind him thought the bolt had hit Jessup and stopped to make sure he was OK.

Though a bit shaken, Jessup was fine.

The thunder rolls 

As the saying goes: “When thunder roars, go indoors” as there is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area, but certain vehicles can lessen the threat of being struck.

According to the National Weather Service, a common misconception many people have regarding lightning safety is that rubber tires on a car will protect a person from lightning by insulating them from the ground.

However, while most cars are safe from lightning, it is the metal roof and metal sides which form a Faraday cage that protects the individual inside – not the rubber tires, according to the weather service.

Thus, it’s important to remember that convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. Also, when lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Therefore, don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 


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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • RealMcCoy March 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Did he get a ticket for using a cell phone while driving? What about using a phone app while driving?
    This law-breaking criminal needs his front door SWAT-kicked in and arrested. Don’t forget to add the ‘resisting arrest’ charge when he protests his arrest.
    Oh, and awesome pic, btw. I’ll but a print of it to help offset your bail costs.

    • .... March 29, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Mommy mommy someone’s using a cell phone while driving. .whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa… mommy mommy make them stop it I don’t like it ! Get a life whiner

      • RealMcCoy March 29, 2016 at 11:22 am

        Your failure to grasp sarcasm amuses me, dot boy.

  • ladybugavenger March 28, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    No using cell phone and driving unless you capture a picture like this haha

  • DRT March 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    WOW! That is neat! I thank Mr. Jessop for sending that in, and I thank SGNews for printing it!

  • Kristi March 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Why, wasn’t he issued a traffic ticket? I mean a guy puts his car in park and the electric car he was driving brakes didn’t register, and went over the cliff by Dixie Rock. No injuries and he got a ticket.(failure to keep car parked ???) This guy is on his phone taking pics for snapchat in a storm with other drivers around. How dangerous is that? Those of us that use Snapchat know its not a simple process, you’d have to take your eyes off the road a few times to send it. Just like texting!!! I don’t understand how this state sees the difference between an accident and what would be labled as an accident by not following the law like distraction of a cell phone!!! Yeah pic was cool, but just a little jerk of the wheel and…….. Who knows…

  • Larry March 29, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Give him a Ticket? Where is the Victim? or is ‘the State’ seen as the victim if not collecting the revenue?

    • RealMcCoy March 29, 2016 at 11:22 am

      There doesn’t have to be a victim. The law is the law. You don’t get to only enforce the laws you agree with. He was endangering others with his 3000 pound guided missile during inclement weather. He is now shown in the news openly flaunting the No Cell Phone law.
      This hardened criminal should have been taken down in a roadblock.

  • sagemoon March 29, 2016 at 10:27 am

    So cool! Thanks for sharing.

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