3 storm chasers killed in 2-vehicle accident near Spur, Texas

Discussion in 'Weather In The News' started by Dan Robinson, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Greg Flint

    Greg Flint Member

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    Joel - please read my entire comment and try not to misrepresent what I wrote. Maybe my grammar and punctuation isn't perfect, but I was implying it's "idiotic to see lives lost as a result of chasing a funnel". I never once said storm chasing is idiotic. I poured all of my emotions out on that original post, which is evident in typing "I feel" over and over. Just because you were a passenger in a car being operated by an equally wreckless driver, try not to let that cloud sound logic and reasoning of the situation here. I know that's hard, because it's hard to look in the mirror sometimes. You seem to be looking at this situation as if you were Kelley, based on your previous experiences. I get it, we've all been there. But yes; it does matter that an innocent young mans life was lost as the result of another Persons wrecklessness.
     
    #101 Greg Flint, Mar 29, 2017
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  2. Kevin Bowman

    Kevin Bowman Member

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    This wont happen. Just like sex, death and disaster sells. Casual viewers which is basically the people targeted by news, TWC etc want to see the destructive power of a tornado up close. Heck most of us might not give a second look at a tornado filmed miles away, but a video of a guy with a EF4 approaching and tearing up his neighborhood, yeah we will wait through the commercial break to see it. When it comes down to see, money is the reason it wont stop.
     
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  3. Kevin Bowman

    Kevin Bowman Member

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    I am sure they are already issuing subpoenas for the full unedited video. They are going to try to find out how much contact they had with producers at TWC. That in of itself could be massively damaging for TWC if producers were telling them to run stop signs to meet a live shot deadline etc. I am not saying this is the case but saying they are contractors means nothing. If contractors screw something up where I work, the company is at fault.
     
  4. Michael Snyder

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    Hopefully everyone can learn from this event if nothing else.

    -If you run a red light, you aren't paying attention and you should let someone else drive or call it a day, PERIOD.
    -If you are forced to run red lights because you see a tornado and you think you might get hit, you are chasing TOO CLOSE.
    -If you are tired, not well rested or have been chasing for extended periods of time you need to evaluate if you should not be chasing that day.
    -You know when you are tired, and you know when your driver isn't driving well. It's time to end the chase at that point, or pay attention to the road and make a concerted effort to do so. There can be no exceptions with this. Even doing so you are still at risk driving many long dark miles during a chase and yes anyone can still make a mistake.
    -But there is no reason to increase the risk by doing stupid things listed above.

    The above situations should be calculated BEFORE you get into a position where you can harm yourself and others. Remember.... A storm looks really nice from a distance much of the time too.
    I'm not saying I'm a perfect driver, and most of the time I am not driving. But I still monitor each and every single intersection, town or convergence we encounter when I'm not driving.
    I feel that Kelly Williamson and his partner were probably well overdoing the amount of chasing they were doing, and it showed in completely missing that stop sign, and missing at least one other stop sign from what I have heard. I liked watching his feeds and him on the weather channel but the mount of time on the road he was spending was not safe in my opinion.

    So let's learn from it, if nothing else.
     
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  5. Kevin Bowman

    Kevin Bowman Member

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    He blew a stop sign at 2:03 and 45 seconds. He slowed down but still rolled right through it. This video is going to be damning if it ever reaches a court. TWC should be worried.
     
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  6. Jake Orosi

    Jake Orosi Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, service providers and hosts in the US are legally protected against liability for illegal content posted by end-users. So blogging services, social media outlets like Facebook, and internet forum admins don't get in trouble. I don't see why a storm chasing stream host wouldn't count as such an outfit.

    The only exemption to this protection I've heard of is hosts of content that tends to be illegal by nature (like pirated works).
     
  7. Brian Barnes

    Brian Barnes Member

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    That's a third degree felony in some states, and a class A misdemeanor in others. Having blue anywhere on a vehicle that can be seen from the front is in most states as well. Even those blue hue headlights are, in Arkansas, several counties have written tickets for them.

    I have read though a lot of these posts, and although I hardly ever post myself, I wanted to here. First and foremost - my sincere condolences to all those affected, especially family of the deceased.

    I'm struggling with Dan's "could have happened to any of us" comment. It's possible. Mistakes do happen, and sometimes a stop sign might not be seen. But, it seems that Kelley did roll through more than one, whether it was a slow roll or not, it's running a stop sign. And, in the one leading to the wreck, it's my understanding that not only was there a stop sign, but there was a yellow caution sign announcing the stop ahead, as well as signs announcing the FM road ahead.

    So, they did have plenty of warning, it's not as if this stop just popped out of nowhere from around a bend. But, in-general, yes running an occasional stop sign could happen to anyone, no matter how great of a driver you are. Its just that it's starting to appear that this was a bit of a habit for this guy, which is where I'm struggling. And, if future evidence shows that it was a habit, then go ahead and put me in the angry column with so many others.

    That all said, I'll admit that I got a ticket a few years ago in Kansas for failure to stop at a stop sign. The kicker... I actually did stop, and had no rolling wheels, then I made a right turn. The officer that wrote me up said, and I quote, "You didn't do five mississippis". So, now I very sarcastically count out "five mississippis" very loudly when I come to a stop sign (its more of the humor of it, but I guess it's the proper thing to do as well). I was angry over that ticket (my first of any kind 15 years) and still am.

    There is also some debate over if this could affect TWC or a steaming company. Warren says "no" to the streaming company, and "possibly" to TWC. I think I'll go with a "possibly" for both. But, it depends on contracts, and what is in those contracts. I don't think just wearing a logo can get a company in hot water. But, if the company "gave" him the logo to wear along with a contract of some sort then that creates an employment situation, 1099 or not, and it could lead to lawsuits. What happens past that is anyone's guess.

    At the beginning of each and every tour, we conduct a safety meeting so that our customers know what to expect from me, and others. I have always identified our primary hazard as "other chasers" and have a few slides to illustrate it. I tell every customer to "watch out for chasers, because they're not watching out for you." And, no offense to other chasers, but I have had a guy once who tried to get around some cars on the shoulder by taking the ditch...and we had customers along a fence line there taking photos of a storm, he nearly hit that group. Most chasers are great people and that includes some of the most safety orientated people I have ever met (like Warren), but it only takes one and it's that one that I'm always looking out for.

    I assume that people in a forum setting like StormTrack are safety cautious and orientated, because we're all here to share and to learn. Please advocate safety in chasing and everything you do. Represent storm chasing with pride and respect. I noticed on youtube a video posted from a kid who looks to be about 12-15 or so, he's very sad that his favorite chaser was just killed. No matter how long you've been chasing, keep in-mind that people (and kids) might be looking up to you. You don't want to be that guy (or gal) who lets them down with the disappointing fact that you violated a law and took a life. Very sad all around. Be safe.

    -BB
    StormChase.com
     
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  8. Brett Roberts

    Brett Roberts Experienced Member

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    2:03:20 - TWC vehicle rolls a stop sign (not at 3 mph; more like 15-25 mph) going straight through a two-way stop intersection, seconds after a vehicle is seen flying by on the cross route (which has the right of way)

    2:06:03 - TWC vehicle makes a right turn at a stop sign going approximately the same speed you would if you had the right of way at the intersection

    Stream from Sunday (3/26/17) chase - TWC vehicle makes a right turn similar to the above onto a busy highway, again right after a vehicle whizzes by at high speed

    Unfortunately, the evidence contained in these streams suggests to me that disregarding stop signs may have been a habit for this crew. I'm not aware of any other instances captured on stream where they blew a stop at 70+ mph, so it still seems quite possible that Kelley didn't see the sign at the intersection of the wreck. But, I would imagine lawyers may be examining the wealth of old footage still available on the YouTube channel to see whether it had happened before - and if so, how frequently.

    I take no pleasure in pointing this out while friends and family of the TWC crew are still in mourning. I do think it's important to emphasize that, perhaps, the most relevant lesson to take from yesterday is actually quite simple: always take stop signs seriously, even in remote areas. Very few of us (myself included) are model drivers when we're under a tornadic storm, but I think disregarding stops is a special kind of recklessness that most of us refrain from in all circumstances. So I would say that this lesson applies to only a minority of chasers, but for them, I really hope it causes a permanent change in behavior.
     
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  9. Jake Orosi

    Jake Orosi Member

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    Also, isn't it generally the whole point of having multiple chasers in one vehicle, that the driver can just concentrate solely on driving while the other(s) handles the sky-watching? If not, making it that way is a tremendous opportunity to upgrade your chase safety.
     
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  10. Greg Flint

    Greg Flint Member

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    No way.

    If you think about it, what TWC did after El Reno was worse. Instead of having their own team/employees out in the field to chase like Mike Bettis' team during El Reno, they used hired guns to obtain And broadcast the footage. If you don't think for a second that wasn't a corporate Decision, think Again.

    To the TWC, their sponsors and mindless millions at home watching: Business is business. Other storms occurred on the panhandle yesterday, and TWC had already went on to show these storms on air. They don't seem to care Who is out there or what it takes to obtain the footage as long as they are protected legally and financially protected from an unfortunate outcome like the one that unfolded yesterday. Correct me if I'm wrong but true capitalism never involved killing innocent people though.

    My dark side would love to know how many calls/texts/emails TWC received yesterday/today from Candidates looking to be next chaser on the air for them. It's obvious they will continue to to air close ups of tornados, evidenced by the footage they replayed over and over yesterday even after they knew one of their contractors had killed two others and himself.

    As many of us have pointed out, there are LOTS of lessons to be learned (again). Personally, my chase partner and I had a lengthy discussion this morning about awareness and how to minimize the chances of repeating yesterday avoidable situation. Sadly, there are many factors during a chase that come up, and there are so many variables, unintended consequences are sometimes unavoidable.

    This is the last post I'll make on this topic out of respect for Corey, Randall and Kelley. May each of their families eventually find peace and closure. I truly wish the best for their families and anyone else who was close to them. Love and Kindness.
     
  11. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    Agreed. That's what I had in mind when I expressed the sentiment that it could happen to any of us. I have never blown lights or stop signs, I was referring to those other things I know we have all done that could result in equally tragic consequences.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Todd Lemery

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    A fatal crash just occurred a short time ago 75 miles west of San Antonio Texas. 12 people were killled in the crash. Whew! That was close. Now everybody can go back to driving EXACTLY as they were before because now the media has a new, shiny and bigger toy to play with!
     
    #112 Todd Lemery, Mar 29, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  13. joel ewing

    joel ewing Member

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    I'm not misrepresenting anything that I read of yours....you stated your position clearly. Nor does my response have anything at all to do with a joy-ride in the Nebraska countryside 50 yrs. ago with my cousin who made poor driving choices... trust me, I've been thru far worse in my life. And spare me the lecture on how "an innocent young man's life was lost as a result of another man's "wrecklessness". Straight up: Kelley's body has barely gone cold and some of you are carving him up like pigs at a feast. It's reassuring to know that I'm surrounded by guys so filled with virtue. Let me ask you something.....when you stand up and pontificate statements such as "an innocent young man's life was taken from him blah blah blah"......what's in it for YOU? Really.....what are you getting out of this? What's the point? Are you trying to convince your audience that you're such a deeply feeling, caring individual? Are some of you just using this as an exercise to BOND with one another at Kelley's expense? Every one of you has blown a stop sign in his day, and "there but for the grace of God, go I". Personally, I never dreamed that Kelley would be getting this kind of treatment so soon after his passing amongst his so-called peers. Yeah, it looks like he effe'd up and caused this to happen. But to rake him over the coals like some of you are doing just reeks of elitism, as well as a complete lack of class and dignity.
     
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  14. Jack Fleetwood

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    It's been interesting reading the posts here. I think the majority of chasers here agree with my thoughts on this accident.

    On YouTube and FB, people were enamored with Kelley, not so much Randy and Kelley, but with Kelley. They're arguing about who was driving even after the DPS said Randy was buckled into the passenger seat. They don't want it to be Kelley that made a mistake.

    When I first discovered chasers streaming a couple of years ago, like many others, I quickly gravitated to following Kelley. He seemed to always be on the storm, and if he wasn't, he was entertaining. His country boy charm kept people laughing. From only knowing him through the internet, I believe he was a great guy. However, it frustrates me that people are saying they normally followed the laws of the road. Many times when Randy was driving, Kelley would tell him to speed up and Randy would say that he had it floored.

    On the last video they posted, they crossed over the centerline multiple times and ran at least two other stop signs. To be fair, they slowed down for those two, but they ran them. I truly believe they didn't see this one and accidentally ran it because they never slowed down. I'm also sick of people saying there should be a 4-way stop. There were at least four warnings the intersection was coming. Highway Intersection ahead, JCT 2794, the stop ahead sign, and then the stop sign. The intersection didn't sneak up on them!

    I really enjoyed watching these guys and I'm sad they're gone. As others have stated here, it's a good time to reflect on how we drive. It was an accident or a mistake, either way the actions they took cost their lives and the life of another young man.
     
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  15. Steve J

    Steve J Noob

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    There also might be a stop at 2:23:20 - you can see the stop sign pass in the background. However, none of these are even in the same league as the one that follows 2 min later. If that fatal intersection was a blown stop sign at 70 mph, I think it's disingenuous for folks to say he "blew" those others because they are not remotely similar. If feels more like pushing a story instead of relaying supporting info.

    By the letter of the law, you'd be hard pressed to find a single person here who doesn't roll stop signs. Seriously, full stop, every time? Behind the line/sign/crosswalk? Consider rural Texas panhandle where it's pretty easy to clear an intersection because you can often see miles in all directions. Doesn't make it right, but a lot (most?) don't come to a full stop. Stones and glass houses and such.

    Then consider the intersection in question. There was no way to see all traffic in order to clear the intersection until right up on it, trees were blocking the view of the westbound traffic. They hit a dark-colored vehicle which would have been harder to see through the trees. And there seemed to be no slowing. If that was intentional, that seems like a blatant roll of the dice which runs counter to the behavior minutes prior where he had slowed down well below highway speeds before proceeding through the intersection.

    Here here!
     
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  16. Brad Dormer

    Brad Dormer Member

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    I'm extremely disappointed in how some people decided to handle this tragedy, not just here, but everywhere. I'm not really sure how to word this and I'm sure I'll get criticism, but at this point, I don't care. Just because someone screws up doesn't mean you shouldn't have any less empathy for those people/those people's families. Have you ever thought about who could be reading this? There could be family members, chase teammates, anyone, really that could've known any of the 3 of them, reading what some of the people here and in other places have posted has deeply disgusted me as well as others. My final thoughts: Yes, Kelley screwed up, as you can tell by the last seconds of the video/live stream, he's still a human and humans make mistakes, just because he ran that stop sign doesn't mean he's subhuman or something, come on guys, really? Corbin was an unfortunate victim in this case, I feel bad for his family, from what I heard Corbin was all his mother had left, I didn't know him personally but I did have great conversations with Kelley and Randy and it hit me super hard when I got home and saw 3 chasers had been involved in a triple fatality crash and saw the vehicles, I along with multiple others knew instantly who it was, I always was eager to get home and watch his live streams on severe weather days, and now, I can't do that. But eventually, everyone, including me will have to move on and learn from this incident.
     
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  17. Brian G

    Brian G Member

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    I'm really not trying to be insensitive. The loss of life is tragic no matter what the circumstances so it too pains me to discuss this incident and Kelley's chasing behavior. Someone I know from Cassville asked me about him a few weeks ago and I didn't know who he was so I looked him up. The first video I found on YouTube was labeled "Kelley Williamson Crash" and was from 2015 showing dashcam video of someone (presumably Kelley) driving on icy roads near Cassville (I'm familiar with the area and recognized the roads). I have to be honest, my first impression when watching that video was that whoever was driving was going way too fast for the conditions. And then sure enough he crashed. The video is no longer available on YouTube. My guess is that it got removed yesterday morning because it was still indexed by YouTube, but when you clicked on it you'd get the message saying the video is no longer available. It doesn't even show up on google search today which makes me think it got recently removed. Anybody else remember watching this video?
     
  18. Brad Dormer

    Brad Dormer Member

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    I watched that video the day of this year's incident, didn't know it was gone. That's interesting.
     
  19. Jesse Risley

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    Personally, I can't tell anyone how to display empathy or how to parcel grief, as that's an individual choice. However, I see both sides to the varying reactions here. I'm not one, personally, to parcel out empathy, as I feel that the loss of all three individuals was extremely tragic, and I sympathize with all immediate family members and close friends of the deceased who were affected too.

    That having been said, the elephant in the room surrounds driving behavior. At the very least, the facts appear to confirm that this accident was caused by what constitutes "reckless driving" behavior in most states - intentional or not. There are other accusations of purportedly similar behavior(s) on the part of the driver in past encounters, including a few that were on the live stream Tuesday, among others. I never saw any of that first-hand, as I only knew the driver by proxy via social media, and a few very brief encounters in the field. If that's the case, then there are other wide-reaching behaviors here that merit some deprecation via civil discourse, or at the very least will be discussed in the future and open to public censure. I can certainly see why this evokes anger in some, not that I'm personally arguing that it's deserving of "less empathy," but I'll leave it at that.
     
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  20. Steve J

    Steve J Noob

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    Yep, snow covered roads. He crested a hill and just as he got over the top, there was someone stopped in his lane. He tried changing lanes, I believe the back end of his vehicle must have slid and caught the stopped truck so it spun Kelley back around so the camera faced the driver's door as he slid toward the ditch.

    I grew up in the midwest, several hours north of Cassville where we dealt quite a bit more winter weather than SW MO. It didn't strike me that he was driving too fast as much as it did that the other guy had chosen a really bad place to stop. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯‎
     
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  21. Jack Fleetwood

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    I think for a lot of us it was painful to first hear that someone we followed had died, then to find out it was caused by his own actions. Add to that the fact that another life was also taken and it got much worse. He wasn't sub-human, but he wasn't super-human either. The fact that his team was seen running stops signs on multiple occasions shows a recklessness that ended up being fatal.

    When anyone chooses to make this much of their daily lives visible to the public, they're opening themselves up to scrutiny. Reed Timmer is another example of someone who was invisible to the world outside of storm chasing until he was on TV. Then people saw his team speeding and pushing their limits and there were complaints. If they had died or killed someone else while filming Storm Chasers, the fallout would have been much worse based on the level of celebrity.
     
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  22. Michael Snyder

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    I know what you are saying, but if you are driving this fast and cannot stop for stationary objects in the road, you are driving too fast. Any other way of looking at it puts others and yourself at risk.
    On a back country road just beyond that hill over yonder, it could be kids playing in the road, a cow in the road, a tractor, whatever. If you cant see over the hill, you slow down, period. We as drivers are responsible to stop. Just cause it's a road doesn't mean you can just shotgun down it without worrying about what could be in your way up ahead.

    I'm not calling you out Steve, I'm just pointing out things we can all do better.

    I had a close friend of mine who thinks to this day that when he rear ended a woman, it was not his fault because the guy in front of her "slammed on his breaks".

    I tried to explain why he was at fault, but he wasn't having it. We have to get off this mindset.
     
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  23. Nathanial Brown

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    I've been pretty out of the loop of storm chasing for the last year due to work and just happened to start prepping for this year when I saw this. I'd say this whole situation is just another reminder that we all need to watch our surroundings because even if we aren't doing something wrong we could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a sad deal that this happened, but hopefully it'll be a bit of an eye opener for chasers that make questionable traffic decisions while in the field.

    Also I hadn't seen this shared so I figured I'd post it here.. Corbin's family has created a GoFundMe to help them with their expenses of being him home and his services.
    https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-corbin-jaeger&rcid=59435758061f476f95db5e137472ae56


    Sent from my iPhone using Stormtrack
     
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  24. Sean Ramsey

    Sean Ramsey Member

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    It's such a tragedy for all involved and the sad fact is no matter how careful you are you can only control what you do and trust/hope that others are doing what they are supposed to behind the wheel. We will all be out again with many others under intense and stressful circumstances, and it's pretty likely there will be a few that will be distracted while behind the wheel. It's an inherent risk we all take, even on an everyday basis, and it's up to everyone to do their part to ensure the safest conditions under the circumstances.
     
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  25. Joel Lampe

    Joel Lampe Noob

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    This has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart (as I'm sure it has for many of you) since the accident. I must admit that I feel anger. From what I've read in this thread and know about the situation is that this stop sign was very well-marked. This tragedy, by all accounts, is one that could've and should've been avoided. I think there's a fair chance that both parties driving were distracted at the time and the result proved catastrophic. That being said, we don't have all the details and facts on the table at this point. What I do know is that I'm really shaken up about this. Chasing is in my blood (as I know it is for many of you) and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I really, really hope this is a major wake-up call for all of us to drive responsibly and defensively and when we're driving that is our ONLY job. I will be discussing this incident in length with my chase partners and salvaging what we can from this tragedy - appreciating how delicate all of our lives are and being hyper-vigilant and focused on the road.
     
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