UPDATE: Sheriff's Office identifies woman struck by lightning on Country Thunder grounds

UPDATE: Sheriff’s Office identifies woman struck by lightning on Country Thunder grounds

Updated: 6:55 p.m. July 20, 2018

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Thursday night, severe weather poured down on Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. One of the strikes of lightning hit 22-year-old Brittney Prehn while she was camping at Country Thunder. It happened around 12:30 a.m.

“Lightning struck her, it appears, in the head by her ear and it actually went down through her body and severely injured a foot and I think the boot she had on actually disintegrated,” Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said.

Prehn is now in serious condition at an Illinois hospital. Many festival-goers are worried, with chances for storm in the forecast for the remainder of the 4-day country music festival.

“It was kind of scary you got metal in your tent and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Trevor Riley, a camper at Country Thunder, said. “It makes me kind of scared to camp out here.”

“I’ve been camping a lot before and you don’t think you’d be struck by it,” Sam Thapa, Country Thunder Attendee, said. “It’s like a one in a million type of thing.”

Sheriff Beth says he has never seen anything like this before at a festival. He says it’s important to be prepared and have a plan for severe weather, especially at Country Thunder where there is not a lot of shelter.

“This event takes place in fields,” Sheriff Beth said. “I mean the parking and the campground is just hay fields. The festival grounds are just a wide open area. Always be safe always let people know where you are going to be.”

Sheriff Beth says it took hours to identify Prehn because she did not have any identification on her. Prehn’s mother was able to identify her over the phone by describing a tattoo she has.

"It was torrential downpours I mean the lightning was huge and yeah I was pretty scary," said Lindsay Curtin.

The Country Thunder camper says she took shelter from the storm under a Country Thunder pavillion Thursday night.

"It does make you nervous that something like that could happen," said Curtin.

The festival-goer struck by lightning is also weighing on the minds of Country Thunder organizers.

"The event that occured last night -- we feel deeply for the family and our thoughts and prayers are with them," said Scott Elliott, Emergency Event Coordinator Country Thunder.

Elliott says the show will go on after Thursday night's severe weather. They're not making any changes to the shows or for campers after the lightning strike -- just keeping a close eye on the skies. He says they work closely with the National Weather Service and local authorities to monitor the weather.

"We get constant updates on what's coming, what's expected, what's forecasted," said Elliott.

The Emergency Event Coordinator says emcees on the stages will give notice to concertgoers if a threat is nearing and the stage needs to be evacuated. He says sheriff's deputies alert everyone at festival campsites.

"It’s a tough spot knowing that it’s bad weather for the next couple of days," said Thapa.

All the campers CBS 58 spoke to aren't making any changes either ... just keeping safety at top of mind.

"Whenever it starts raining we go in our trailer and I mean I know that’s not the best protection ever but hey it’s something better than just being outside," said Thapa.

The sheriff says anyone that's coming to the festival should think of a safe place to go if severe weather strikes.
Elliott says campers or vehicles are some of the safest places available for campers.


Updated: 11:07 a.m. July 20, 2018

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Kenosha County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman hit by lightning while at Country Thunder as 22-year-old Brittney Prehn of Illinois. 

The Sheriff's Office says Pehn was unconscious when they were called out to the campground around 12:30 a.m. She was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center with serious injuries. Her current condition is unknown. 


Updated: 8:39 a.m. July 20, 2018

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Kenosha County Sheriff's Office is trying to identify a woman who was hit by lightning while at Country Thunder. 

Deputies were called to the campground around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning. According to investigators, the woman was seriously hurt and was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center for treatment. She did not have identification on her. 

The woman is described as being around 18 to 22 years old, having a small build and brown hair. She was wearing a dark T-shirt, dark jean shorts, and brown cowboy boots. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office.


Posted: 5:44 a.m. July 20, 2018

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department says a woman was struck by lightning while on the Country Thunder grounds in the Town of Twin Lakes.

Deputies were called to the scene at the country music festival around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning.

The extent of the woman's injuries are unknown at this time.

Stay with CBS 58 on-air and online for the latest on this developing story. 

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