Storm Wrangler Killed In Crash, Mother Sues

Text messages allegedly show The Weather Channel was aware of driver's recklessness before the fateful crash that killed three. 

Tornado and lightning in the distance.
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Text messages allegedly show The Weather Channel was aware of driver's recklessness before the fateful crash that killed three. 

The Weather Channel is being sued for $125 million by Karen Di Piazza over the death of her son who was killed chasing a storm.

Corbin Lee Jaeger was killed when his vehicle collided with that of Kelley Williamson and Randy Yarnall, who worked as contractors for The Weather Channel on the show Storm Wranglers.

The suit alleges The Weather Channel was aware of the dangerous driving habits of Williamson and Yarnall due to text messages exchanged with another unnamed storm chaser and one of the show’s producers.

According to CBS News, the unnamed storm chaser sent text messages 24 days before the accident that claimed Williamson was “doing 90+ mph” to get to a location, and “We are just hoping he doesn’t get hurt or hurt anyone else.”

The suit also alleges that Williamson and Yarnall’s recklessness and blatant disregard of traffic laws can be seen on Williamson’s YouTube channel.

All three of the storm chasers were killed in the accident that occurred at a remote intersection near the town of Spur, which is 55 miles south of Lubbock.

According to The Associated Press, Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Gonzalez said a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Williamson ran a stop sign and slammed into a Jeep driven by Jaeger.

Yarnell was a passenger in the Suburban, and all three storm chasers died instantly.

The tornadoes they were tracking had produced tennis ball-sized hail and winds powerful enough to rip away roofs and walls, the AP reported.

In 2017, The Weather Channel said, “We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved,” CBS Denver reported at the time.

The Weather Channel said in a statement yesterday that it can’t comment on pending litigation.

Tornado as viewed from above.
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Storm chasing has exploded in popularity over the past two decades, spurred on in part by the 1996 movie Twister starring Bill Paxton, according to USA Today.

Recently, scores of vehicles crammed with scientists, weather enthusiasts, tourists, and thrill seekers have been clogging up the roads of tornado alley during tornado season, USA Today reported.

Prior to the crash in Spur, the worst day in the history of storm chasing was May 31, 2013, when a ferocious tornado killed three veteran chasers.

Longtime storm chaser David Hoadley was there that day and a friend to the victims. He told USA Today that to his knowledge, that is the only time a tornado, and not a traffic accident, has killed storm chasers.