A car accident claimed the lives of three storm chasers on Tuesday afternoon in Dickens County as a line of tornadic thunderstorms moved through the South Plains. The weather-monitoring community was quick to spread the sad news on the crash, encouraging support for the chasers.
A statement released by DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez said that the crash between a Jeep and a Suburban happened about 3:30 p.m. 5 miles west of Spur at FM 2794 and FM 1081. The accident occurred as a line of severe storms moved through the eastern South Plains and Rolling Plains. The National Weather Service in Lubbock issued several tornado warnings including the Spur area.
Sgt. John Gonzalez made a statement early Tuesday evening identifying the victims involved in the crash. The Suburban was being driven by Kelley Gene Williamson, a 57-year-old from Cassville, Missouri. The intense crash ejected Mr. Williamson from the vehicle when the crash occurred, he was not wearing his seat belt. The Suburban had a passenger who was identified as Randall Delane Yarnall, the 55-year-old was also from Cassville, Missouri.
The Jeep was being driven by Corbin Lee Jaeger, the 25-year-old was from Peoria in Arizona. Both Williamson and Yarnall were contractors for the Weather Channel.
The Weather Channel released a statement on Tuesday saying that the two were beloved members of the weather community, the Channel also expressed its condolences towards the families and loved ones of the victims.
Reports from investigators indicate that the black Suburban was travelling northbound on FM 1081 when it ignored a stop sign and crashed with the black Jeep that was traveling west on FM 2794.
Gonzalez said that there were two drivers and one passenger in the two vehicles, he also confirmed that they were all deceased at the scene. He also confirmed that the three were storm chasers.
Storm chasers showed their support to the families of the victims on social media after the bad news was unveiled. Several tweets were made by fellow storm chasers, some of whom had made their way to the scene of the crash. The Tornado Trackers Twitter account also reacted to the shocking news.