E.C. native killed by lightning was a good guy

September 14, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

Being struck and killed by lightning is an uncommon phenomenon.

For a 53-year-old Santee man, being struck by lightning was not what made him stand out.

It was the constant compliments his employer received for him being courteous and polite to customers.

"They had many calls telling him on what a good job he did," said Phyllis Cook, 63, the sister of Roger Wilson.

Wilson was a cab driver for the Yellow Cab Co. in San Diego for about 16 years and was uncommonly popular with customers and co-workers.

Wilson was born and raised in El Centro and lived in the Imperial Valley until joining the U.S. Marine Corps and serving in the Vietnam War.


On a calm Sept. 2, Wilson, his girlfriend, her son, and her son's 13-year-old friend all went to Stonewall Peak in the mountains between San Diego and Imperial County for an afternoon of hiking.

Rain started pouring on the hikers but Wilson was not discouraged and continued his hike.

However, his girlfriend and her son turned back and headed to the car. Her son's friend kept hiking with Wilson.

Moments later, about 1:31 p.m., Wilson was struck by lightning and killed. The 13-year-old was knocked unconscious for about a minute by the jolt.

Cook said it was common for Wilson to go hiking and take risks.

."It was like him to go out there, be a rebel, be independent," said Cook.

"Even his job gave him independence," she added.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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