Wednesday, March 29, 2017

3 Storm Chasers Killed While Chasing Tornado

Three storm chasers were killed in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon in Dickens County, Texas as a line of tornadic thunderstorms moved through the South Plains.

News of the crash spread quickly through the weather monitoring community, prompting an outpouring of support for the chasers who were from out of state, including a statement from The Weather Channel.

Yarnell, Williason and Yeager
According to Lubbock OnLine, DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez said the crash between a Jeep and a Suburban happened about 3:30 p.m. five miles west of Spur as a line of severe storms moved through the eastern South Plains and Rolling Plains, triggering several tornado warnings, including in the Spur area, according to the National Weather Service in Lubbock. Gonzalez released a statement early Tuesday evening identifying the victims:

“The driver of the Suburban was identified as Kelley Gene Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Mo. Mr. Williamson was ejected from the vehicle at the time of the crash. Mr. Williamson was not wearing his seatbelt. The passenger in the Suburban was identified as Randall Delane Yarnall, 55, also of Cassville, Mo. Mr. Yarnall was wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Jeep was identified as Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona.”

Williamson and Yarnall were contractors for the Weather Channel, according to a statement released by the Weather Channel late Tuesday.

“Kelley and Randy were beloved members of the weather community,” the statement reads. “We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved.”

Investigators believe a black suburban was traveling northbound on FM 1081 when it disregarded a stop sign and collided with a black Jeep that was traveling west on FM 2794.

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