Lightning strike kills woman waiting to pick up child from school

lightning strike
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A woman who was waiting at a park in Central Florida for her child to be released from a nearby school was struck by lightning and killed.

The incident happened Thursday near Trotwood Park in Winter Springs, just north of Orlando. The park is a common meeting area for parents picking up children from an elementary and middle school nearby, WESH reported.

Winter Springs Police said the woman was with her dog and another child, standing near a tree when a thunderstorm moved in without warning.

"What we believe is that the lightning actually struck a tree that they were standing next to," Police Capt. Matt Tracht said at a news conference. "That lightning energized a certain amount of area and they were ultimately affected by that."

The mother, later identified as Nicole Tedesco, and her 10-year-old daughter were taken to the hospital. Tedesco later died from her injuries.

Tracht said several others were "affected" by the lightning strike, including an 18-year-old who was treated at the hospital and released.

Tedesco's daughter spent the night at the hospital for observation and was released. The dog also spent the night at a veterinary clinic and was released the next day.

Witnesses told police the storm started as just rain and then the lightning happened "out of nowhere," so quickly that Tedesco might not have had time to find shelter.

"There was no alerts, no severe weather alerts that came and prompted, hey, this storm is coming," Tracht said, "It was, bang, just like that. A little bit of rain came, lightning, and then it was just pure mayhem after that."

Tedesco is the wife of Orlando Sanford Airport police Officer Andrew Tedesco. The airport has created a GoFundMe account to help the Tedesco family as they deal with the monumental loss.

Tracht asked for privacy for the Tedesco family, saying they will need plenty of time to heal from this tragedy.

"Go home and kiss your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Life is unexpected. This is totally crazy out of the blue," he said. "Why did it happen? We don't know. So, you know, as we can go home, you know, love your family, love your loved ones. Express it."