Three storm chasers died on Tuesday in a violent car crash as they were chasing tornadoes in Texas. Two of the victims were stars of the Weather Channel program “Storm Wranglers.”
The incident happened when a black Suburban traveling north ran through a stop sign and collided with a Jeep traveling west, according to Sargeant John Gonzalez of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Kelley Gene Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Missouri, was driving the Suburban. The passenger was his friend and storm chasing co-star, Randall Delane Yarnall, 55, also of Cassville.
The Jeep’s driver was Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona. While he was pursuing the same tornado, it’s unclear whether he was with the two men. According to local authorities, all three were chasing a tornado in Dickens County, Texas.
Authorities said Williamson was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. Yarnall and Jaeger had on their seat belts.
The Weather Channel issued the following statement after the accident:
This afternoon we learned that three people died in a car accident in Texas, including two contractors for the Weather Channel, Kelley Williamson and Randy Yarnall. Kelley and Randy were beloved members of the weather community. We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved.
The crash came 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, Texas.