Police Officer Mark Rodriguez Narrowly Misses Lightning Strike

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By Elizabeth Chuck

A Mississippi police officer is thanking his lucky stars after his life almost changed in a flash.

Gautier police Sgt. Mark Rodriguez was driving his cruiser through stormy weather last Tuesday morning when lightning struck just feet in front of him. Dramatic footage from his patrol car's dash-cam shows a flash exploding from the cloudy sky, right in front of the car as it drove across a bridge in Jackson County.

"The lightning struck approximately 30 feet from me, striking the bridge and actually causing damage to the bridge. I saw the concrete pieces flying," Rodriguez told NBC News.

"The flash was very bright," he added. "It didn't blind me, it just kind of made my eyes blurry for a moment."

A couple days later, Rodriguez returned to the bridge over the Tchoutacabouffa River on Interstate 10 where the bolt touched down, and took photos of the concrete that had crumbled off of it.

Rodriguez said the Christian music he had been listening to when the bolt hit helped keep him calm.

"It was called 'Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here.' By the time that was playing, it came down," he said.

Concrete on a bridge on Interstate 10 in Jackson County, Mississippi, was damaged when lightning struck it.
Concrete on a bridge on Interstate 10 in Jackson County, Mississippi, was damaged when lightning struck it.Sgt. Mark Rodriguez / Gautier Police Department
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