Three storm chasers died on Tuesday in pursuit of a tornado. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland).
The mother of a man killed in a “horrific” 2017 car accident filed a $125 million wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the Weather Channel for its role in the crash.
On March 28, 2017, the lawsuit alleges that storm chasers Kelley Williamson and Randall Yarnall – who were contractors for the Weather Channel – drove past a stop sign while storm chasing near Spur, Texas. With a speed estimated at 70 mph, their car smashed into another car driven by Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, a storm spotter for the National Weather Service.
All three men were killed instantly in the wreck, which happened at a remote intersection near the town of Spur, about 55 miles southeast of Lubbock.
“The Weather Channel’s on-air personalities Kelley Williamson and Randall Yarnall habitually ran stop signs, traffic lights and violated other basic traffic safety laws, in attempts to obtain video footage for their show,” according to a release from the law offices of Robert A. Ball, the San Diego-based attorney representing Jaeger’s mother Karen Di Piazza.
“The Chevrolet Suburban driven by Yarnall was live streaming for the Weather Channel when it ran into the path of the Jeep Patriot Jaeger was driving,” the release said. “The force of the collision caused the equipment-laden Suburban to catapult over a five-foot-tall fence 150 feet from the point of impact.
“Jaeger, a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service, who had planned to return to college in Arizona to pursue a career as a meteorologist, was driving westward away from that tornado, when he was struck and killed.”
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Federal District Court in Lubbock, Texas.
The complaint against the Weather Channel (TWC) also said that “Yarnall and Williamson had a history of reckless driving when storm chasing and when filming TWC’s television programming, which was well known among other storm chasers and TWC.”
Yarnall and Williamson were storm chasers featured on the network’s show Storm Wranglers.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, a tornado briefly touched down that afternoon about five miles from where the accident occurred.
USA TODAY reached out to the Weather Channel for comment but had not received a response yet as of late afternoon Tuesday.
Shortly after the accident in 2017, the Weather Channel released a statement that said “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.”
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