3 storm chasers killed in Texas during storms
The mother of a National Weather Service storm spotter killed in a 2017 traffic wreck has filed a $125 million lawsuit against The Weather Channel, which employed storm chasers involved in the fatal collision.
Karen Di Piazza filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Lubbock, Texas.
Her son, Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, was killed on March 28, 2017, in a two-vehicle crash on County Road 419 just west of Spur and southeast of Lubbock.
The lawsuit alleges The Weather Channel’s on-air personalities Kelley Williamson and Randall Yarnall ran stop signs and traffic lights and violated other traffic laws to obtain video for their show, “Storm Wranglers.” Officials at The Weather Channel were aware of their dangerous and reckless driving habits, according to the lawsuit.
The two ran a stop sign on County Road 419, traveling at 70 mph, to video a tornado for The Weather Channel, according to the lawsuit.
Williamson and Yarnall also were killed in the crash.
Jaeger, a certified storm spotter for the National Weather Service, was driving away from the tornado when his vehicle was hit, the lawsuit states.
“We are saddened by the loss of Corbin Jaeger, Kelley Williamson, and Randy Yarnall,” a spokesperson with the Weather Channel said via email. “They were beloved members of the weather community and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved. We cannot comment on pending litigation.”
Storm chasers track and monitor severe weather storms in attempts to provide early warning so residents can evacuate or take shelter.
“They take pride in filming and reporting the story to protect area residents,” said attorney Robert A. Ball of San Diego in a Tuesday news release. He’s representing Di Piazza. “Unfortunately, Williamson and Yarnall, who were chicken farmers and cattle ranchers by trade, became the story, taking the life of Corbin Jaeger with them.”