Three Storm Chasers Killed in Car Crash in Northwest Texas: Media

(Reuters) -
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Texas Department of Public Safety troopers investigate a two-vehicle crash that left several storm chasers dead on Tuesday, near Spur, Texas. (Ellysa Gonzalez/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal via AP)

Three storm chasers were killed on Tuesday in a car wreck in northwest Texas as an intense tornado-packed storm front rolled through the state, local media reported.

Weather Channel contractors Kelley Williamson, 57, and Randall Yarnall, 55, were in a Suburban that ran a stop sign and hit a Jeep, driven by Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, at about 3:30 p.m. local time near Spur, Texas, the Star-Telegram newspaper reported.

The three men died at the scene, about 70 miles east of Lubbock, the newspaper reported.

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

The area was under a tornado warning at the time of the wreck, the Star-Telegram newspaper reported, citing information from the National Weather Service.

It is unclear if the three men were chasing a “very brief” tornado that was spotted nearby near the time of the crash, according to online storm sighting information posted by the service.

A total of 15 tornado sightings were reported on Tuesday in western Texas as a storm front that brought heavy winds, hail and rainfall pounded the region, the service said.

The fatal crash comes less than four years after three storm chasers were among 13 people killed by tornadoes that rampaged through central Oklahoma in June of 2013.

“Tragedy strikes our community once again, confirming 3 storm chasers killed west of Spur TX. Now is the time to pray not share names,” storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski said on Twitter.