Chelsea man killed by lightning strike

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012


CHELSEA – A Chelsea man was fatally struck by lightning while on vacation off the Florida panhandle.

James Keith Brown of Chelsea was vacationing with his family in a boat off Shell Island, which is near Panama City Beach, Fla.

Brown was walking on the beach shortly before noon Aug. 6 when a storm arrived before the family could retreat to cover, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Officer Ruth Corley.

Brown was carrying his 14-year-old stepson, Tristan Barger, on his back, as Barger recently broke his ankle in a gymnastics accident.

The duo was struck by lightning. Bystanders attempted to resuscitate Brown, but authorities declared him dead at the scene. Barger is currently in critical condition at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Corley said.