3 storm chasers killed in Texas crash

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Three storm chasers, two of whom were contractors of The Weather Channel, were killed Tuesday when their vehicles collided near the city of Spur in Texas, local officials say.

The accident happened at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the intersection of FM 2794 and FM 1081, which is about 3 miles west of Spur in Dickens County and 51 miles east of Lubbock. Both vehicles involved in the crash belonged to storm chasers.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a black Suburban was traveling northbound on FM 1081 when it ran a stop sign and collided with a black Jeep that was traveling westbound on FM 2794. Two people were inside the Suburban and one person was inside the Jeep.

All three storm chasers were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Suburban – who was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle – has been identified as 57-year-old Gene “Kelley” Williamson of Cassville, Missouri. His passenger was 55-year-old Randall “Randy” Delane Yarnall, also from Cassville.

The driver of the Jeep has been identified as 25-year-old Corbin Lee Jaeger of Peoria, Arizona. Jaeger had posted a photo of his Jeep just hours before the accident, writing on his Instagram page: “Waiting for them storms!”

Professional storm chasers follow severe weather systems to provide news coverage or to gather information for scientific purposes. Many storm chasers are particularly interested in tropical systems or severe thunderstorms which are capable of forming tornadoes.

The Weather Channel confirmed that Williamson and Yarnall were contractors for the channel. “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 channel said.

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