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. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    Staff note

    We are monitoring the trends and behaviors in this thread. As long as folks stay on-topic and respectful, we will leave the thread open. We have had to remove some offensive posts recently and we have dealt with the offenders as they have come up.

    rdale is correct - if you see a post you find particularly egregious (not just a matter of disagreement, but something tactless, highly offensive, classless etc.) report the post and we will deal with it.

    This thread has been 98% appropriate so far, so thank you to everyone who is contributing.
     
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  2. Clarence Bennett

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    For many of us, I believe in my heart that we get it and something like this is a gut check for us and makes us question everything that we do. I am not going to stop chasing, but it sure is a reality check and puts me on edge just thinking about hitting the road again. For others, I don't think they give a damn. I just watched the storm that was heading for Alexandria, LA and plotted an unnamed chaser driving an estimated 93.4 mph down I-49 in an attempt to make it to the storm. Absolutely unacceptable, ridiculous, reckless, and dangerous. If this chaser kills someone, I hope said chaser lives so they can have many years behind bars to think about.
     
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  3. Todd Lemery

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    Clarence, I'm not sure if the chaser you plotted didn't have his name attached or if you just didn't want to name names. If you don't want to name names, please reconsider. People have been called out on this site many times and I believe calling people out may make them reconsider how they are acting out in the field. It may not, but we have nothing to gain by turning a blind eye. If I'm out and doing something that endangers the rest of you, I real need and deserve to catch an earful. It's for everyone's benefit.
     
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  4. Warren Faidley

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    My suggestion is not to name names in the chase community. There is still a fair amount of protectionism, censorship and retaliation within and outside the community. As sad as it sounds, a lot of people still support illegal or misleading chasing tactics and the offenders. This is why so many people fear to speak up now days -- and why the lunacy continues to inspire and "justify" more bad behavior. You don't need the grief, trust me on this. Go directly to law enforcement, even if it's witnessed on the Internet.
     
  5. Brett Roberts

    Brett Roberts Experienced Member

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    I'll be the bad guy in this case and say I don't support SpotterNetwork-based witch hunts. There are several reasons:

    1) Fundamentally, SN is a reporting system designed to aid in the warning process. We shouldn't disincentivize people using it unless there's an exceptionally good reason.

    2) SN locations and timestamps aren't perfect, and sometimes they're way off. If you see someone's icon averaging 94 mph over a half-hour period, chances are good that they're really speeding. But I don't like the slippery slope here, where some do-gooder will start making it his hobby to phone local LEO every time an icon jumps more than a mile per update. It's not worth it.

    3) Speeding is illegal, but it's not always in the same class of wanton recklessness as blowing stop signs. Under certain conditions, like speeding excessively through heavy traffic (or on narrow/dirt country roads with any traffic), it is. But without being there or having real-time video evidence, making such a determination is very difficult. In a scenario where someone is driving 85-90 mph down I-70 in western KS with little/no traffic and perfect road conditions, you're essentially talking about behavior that's legal (and practiced safely) on the Autobahn. I wouldn't advise it, but in my opinion, it's not worth stopping the presses for.

    I generally don't like public shaming of chasers who are "too close to the couplet" on SN for the same reasons.

    Irrefutable video evidence (even on live streams) of extremely reckless driving is another animal, and there are scenarios where I would support taking real-time action on that basis. But even then, I think you need to leave some cushion beyond simply what you consider to be safe driving, accounting for the uncertainty associated with not being physically present.

    I know some will disagree, and that's fine.
     
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  6. Jesse Risley

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    I think this is fair, and I was going to respond along the same line. SpotterNetwork technology isn't always real-time, nor can it be veritably 100% accurate in every circumstance. I'm not against calling out temerarious behavior, but I'd caution doing so by proxy, maybe with the exception of something streamed live if the person being called out was the driver or facilitator.
     
  7. Warren Faidley

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    I have to agree. It's never good to accuse anyone of something that cannot be confirmed. SN is not a good way. Live video is the best evidence in the world and is even good in court. It can also be used to support complaints to companies that support dangerous chasing behavior / chasers. Any company that supports reckless behavior should take note of last week, regardless of who was (or was not) at fault.
     
  8. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    I see the point of not going public with someone's behavior as a first action, but a private contact would absolutely be appropriate. I also realize the caution needed in using SN positions as evidence. Would not a long-term speed in obvious radar-derived rain warrant some type of reporting? Could SN itself begin warning a user privately via email, especially if a chaser's public position could easily be used to determine a legally-reckless speed (90mph+)?

    A private notification for first-time offense would be a courtesy before a public shaming. Although, if a chaser is making their behavior publicly known via an SN dot or a stream, a public call-out would seem fair game.
     
  9. rdale

    rdale Member

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    A prominent weather site used SN data to determine average speeds... After a few days of seeing some insane (and likely accurate) numbers, it was turned off.
     
  10. Warren Faidley

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    I really don't see a public call out as a solution. In most cases, it will be ignored -- as it has been in the past. There is mindset right now, that relaying live footage justifies any method to provide it -- as we just witnessed. Even some law enforcement still thinks this is the case. You have to be smart and go after the entities supporting the worse offenders. SN should cut the feeds of anyone committing serious infractions. Facebook also needs to be aware, but I doubt they will do anything.
     
    #160 Warren Faidley, Apr 2, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  11. Wes Carter

    Wes Carter Member

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    If you are referring to the data that was published back in 2010, there were some serious problems with the derived average speeds. I kind of made an ass of myself on Stormtrack because I was calculated as having an average speed of over 100mph for the May 10, 2010 Wakita OK event. I never even got close to that speed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Stormtrack
     
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  12. ScottCurry

    ScottCurry Member

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    I want to publicly apologize to everyone, especially Kelley's family, for calling him a murderer. I was upset. I was angry. I'm still angry. But my words were out of line. Sometimes, when we are angry, we say things that we don't mean. That's what makes us human, and not God. Kelley's family and friends are just as much a victim in this tragic event as anyone.

    I get very upset when I see people selfishly disregard traffic laws, because the consequence is all too often life long injury or death. It made me even more upset when people referred to this as an accident, or a mistake. We have all made mistakes, and run red lights or stop signs because we were distracted, or blinded by the sun, or whatever. But that's not what happened in this case. Kelley didn't make a mistake. He didn't miss the stop sign. He saw the stop sign. He chose to ignore it. 4 times.

    I can't help but think, "What if that had been me driving the other SUV?" I have every right to be angry. Especially when people see this kind of tragedy and don't change their behaviors. I don't want my kids to grow up without a daddy because some selfish jerk blew through 4 stop signs and killed me.

    I am going to be angry and upset for a long time. I pray to God those chasers who disregard traffic laws change, so that this doesn't happen again.

    Again, my anger in no way made my comments OK. And I apologize to all I offended.
     
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  13. Tony Cook

    Tony Cook Noob

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    Agree with Wes Carter, assuming you are referring to the 2010 numbers. This "prominent site" reported my average speed at over 90 for extended portions of a chase during that time period. I promise you, in that instance, it was *not* accurate.
     
  14. JamesCaruso

    JamesCaruso Member

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    I agreed with Brett's post in which he feared that chasers would be disincentivized to use SN if their driving actions were reported, and I think people would still be disincentivized even if SN contacted them privately, because they would feel too much like big brother is watching. And they might feel that the next step is to release it publicly.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  15. Nace Gerhart

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    Tragedies like this affect many different people in many different ways and each person processes it in their own way. It causes us to venture down the path of self-reflection which, if we're geniunely honest with ourselves, allows us to be highly critical of our own actions which in turn leads us to make changes in the way we go about chasing. It troubles me that weeks from now we will eventually get caught up in our everyday lives and forget the lessons we may have learned during this period of self-reflection. We all need to take a brief moment before we head out onto the open roads and think about how we want to go about our chase day. We should also stive to be truly honest with ourselves and become our own worst critic. At the end of the chase day, we need to also analyze how we conducted ourselves on that day. If each of us does this, the possibility of tragedies like this will be greatly reduced.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Stormtrack mobile app
     
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  16. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Arbitrarily calls almost every setup a bust
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    Staff note

    There seems to be an alternate topic now dominating the last few responses on this thread regarding the use of SpotterNetwork to call out chasers which seems to be diverging from the main topic of the thread. I don't want to discourage such discussion, and I'm sure those who first posted didn't intend for the discussion to jump off on that tangent, but let's stay on-topic on this thread, please.

    If you want to start a discussion about the use of SN and such, feel free to start a new thread. I would happily move some of the recent posts there to supplement the discussion.
     
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  17. Michael Towers

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    But I don’t think you can equate the fourth, and fatal, time with the previous three. I haven’t watched the entire stream, but two were linked earlier and while they do show he failed to obey the stop signs they aren’t examples of a previous pattern of reckless behavior that could lead one to conclude what you asserted above. Are they violations? Yes, but there’s a big difference in slow rolling through an intersection and blindly barreling through one at 70 mph. If he had acted similarly the previous times I’d have to agree that the final time was intentional but that’s not what happened and it leaves question as to why he didn’t behave as he’d done previously and slow down, check for traffic and roll through. The previous instances, while illegal, are at worst only minor traffic violations that do not support subsequent willful intent and are not consistent with the behavior that led to the crash. Instead of proving he was guilty of reckless homicide they give question as to whether the final blown stop was intentional or accidental and without knowing for sure I can’t condemn a man for willfully and recklessly causing such a tragedy.

    I understand the outcry and anger, three people lost their lives and if Kelley had been paying attention and heeding the signs the accident would have never occurred and they’d all be alive today. Yes, he is to blame and was the cause of the crash but I don’t think you can conclusively say it was intentional, that he saw the stop sign and willfully ignored it. I know there were multiple signs leading up to the intersection but when you’re watching the sky instead of the road and simultaneously doing a narrative I can see how he could have missed them. Unless the passenger was willfully going to allow the vehicle to fly through the intersection he must have been distracted too as he never spoke up to give warning. I’m sure the family and loved ones of each person lost are trying to understand why this tragedy happened as they deal with their loss. My thoughts and condolences go out to them, my thoughts and respects to the deceased.
     
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  18. Steve J

    Steve J Noob

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    Yes, yes, yes. The video is out there, it's very easy to confirm. Unfortunately, it's also very easy to jump to conclusions based on 2nd hand information. I just wish people would slow down and measure words more carefully, especially when you know that you are likely grieving.

    On another forum, I read a chaser's post who went off on an angry rant about murder and such - the interesting part was to read their blog about what looked to be their only experience chasing in the midwest. They relayed their experience about driving 14 hrs so they could make it in time to chase ... getting pulled over for speeding on the way there ... which was fine because they had budgeted for it (??!!!!). Whoa - pot, meet kettle. So it's fine when you break the law to chase while sleep deprived? Pretty similar ingredients here.
     
  19. Mitch Schelinder

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    Let me first say that I'm a storm spotter, not a storm chaser. I'm a 30 year veteran law enforcement officer who has investigated hundreds of car crashes, thankfully none involving storm chasers. I'd much rather report on a storm from a specific area than drive into or near any tornado producing storm. But this incident was way overdue. I understand the the large majority of storm chasers are more than responsible. Having said that, I've seen many videos online that were very disturbing to me. I'd like to put this in my perspective. As a law enforcement officer I'm charged with protecting life and property. If I get a call about a reckless/speeding driver I have to actively look for that person. If it's near a severe thunderstorm I'm obligated to respond. Reckless chasers (and I've watched many on social media) like that not only put themselves in danger, but mine as well. One thing I hear all the time from chaser blogs or other means, is that the most important recommendation for chasers is situational awareness. I seems to me that there are many (thankfully in the majority), responsible chasers. They always seem to stress safety first. Chasing is extremely dangerous regardless of whether the storm is tornado producing or not. But when the few drive recklessly, as it appears the Williamson situation clearly shows, it puts innocent citizens and law enforcement in a bad situation. I've witnessed this behavior first hand during hurricanes on the east coast. I've watched chasers drive through intersections without stopping, despite the fact that power is out. They get so locked in to the chase, they don't pay attention as they should. This puts everyone in a bad situation and we have to come up with a solution to fix it. Again, this is a small group of irresponsible chasers that makes all of you look bad. Is it fair, no, but that's how we as a society react to things. Remember, the public only focuses on the bad things. I know this being a police officer. It's the same for chasers. Most of you are very responsible and aware chasers. I think it falls on you to call out and report these renegades to authorities. I wish the best for you all, and remember to be safe and responsible.
     
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