Wife injured while both sheltered under tree

The rain and lightning storm that struck Jefferson County Sunday afternoon caused the death of a Madras man, and injury to his wife, both of whom were caught in the storm.

Bret Hemenway, 50, and his wife, Connie, 49, were returning from a two-day motorcycle trip to their home on Danube Drive, north of Madras, when the storm hit.

"Connie stated a rainstorm started, and that they had stopped at the rest area at Cow Canyon to wait out the storm," reported Sheriff Jim Adkins.

After a break in the storm, the pair continued south on U.S. Highway 97, when another cell of the storm passed over, and they pulled into a driveway near milepost 75, and took cover under a large tree.

"Connie said that while under the tree, she saw a blue light and felt extreme pain in her left arm," said Adkins. "Connie was blown backwards and said that Bret was still leaning against the tree and was not moving."

When she was able to move her right arm, around 4:18 p.m., she dialed 911 to seek help for herself and her husband, who was not responsive.

Deputies and medical personnel arrived at 4:25 p.m. and attempted to resuscitate Bret Hemenway, but were unable to revive him. Connie Hemenway was transported by the Warm Springs Ambulance to St. Charles Madras for treatment of her injuries. She was treated and released, according to Lisa Goodman, spokesman for St. Charles Health System.

A memorial service for Hemenway, who farmed north of Madras, will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, at 11 a.m., at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Madras. Bel-Air Colonial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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