Lake Charles man struck by lightning declared brain dead - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles man struck by lightning declared brain dead

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A Lake Charles man struck by lightning has taken a turn for the worse.

The family of Cleve Menard, 41, said doctors declared him brain dead. The family said they plan to donate his organs.

Menard has been in ICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital since Friday after being struck by lightning.

Menard was fishing with his brother-in-law, Pete, Friday morning at Lacassine Wildlife Refuge when the storm moved in to the east.

"When they saw the weather coming, they tried to get to a bridge and hide but it wasn't quick enough," said Bryan Menard, the victim's brother.

As they tried to get to shelter, Cleve was struck by lightning. 

"Pete was operating the motor and heard the thunder. When he turned around, he saw Cleve laying backwards with half his body in the water. At first, he didn't know what was wrong ... and he questioned him and then he saw his eyes roll back in his head and he knew something was wrong," said Menard.

Cleve's brother-in-law would dial 9-1-1, administer CPR and bring the boat into safety. Two former firefighters were also in the area and helped administer CPR until the paramedics arrived.

"We were hiding under the bridge, riding the storm out and we saw lightning strike and it was very close. I said it's getting bad. Then we see Pete coming around the corner and he was waving his hands and screaming for help. We didn't know what to expect. When he got closer to us, we realized his brother-in-law was down in the boat and had been struck by lightning," said Brandon Conner.

Conner was one of the people who helped give CPR.

"Mainly I knew I had to check his vitals. I knew he got struck by lightning and I knew there was going to be issues with his heart and his nervous system. So, the first thing I did was jump out of the boat and swam over there to his boat and checked his ABC's ... to check his airwaves and his breathing. He had a very, very faint pulse," recalled Brandon Conner.

They would continue to administer CPR as another boat pulled them to the boat launch where paramedics were waiting.

Cleve was taken to American Legion Hospital in Jennings and later transferred to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. On Friday and Saturday, he was in and out but still responding. Family members said he suffered several strokes overnight and doctors declared him brain dead Sunday morning.

Cleve was a 10-year employee of PPG Industries and was a lead operator in the silicas unit. He is survived by his wife of 18 years and three children.

The family is establishing an account at Chase Bank for donations to help offset medical and funeral expenses. To help, you can donate to the "Cleve Menard Medical Account."

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