Annually, 37,000 people die each year in vehicle crashes. An additional 2,350,000 are injured or disabled in vehicle accidents yearly, just in the United States. In March of 2017, the storm chasing community lost 3 storm chasers, 2 of which were independent contractors for The Weather Channel. Kelley Williamson and Randy Yarnell were media chasers. Unfortunately, careless driving was the fate of the two and Corbin Lee Jaeger was the victim to their careless driving. But, this post is not to downgrade any of them, but to bring light to careless media chasers.
First, media chasing is different than regular storm chasing. When you are media chasing, you have sponsors to make happy. Whether it is physical sponsors, or news stations buying footage. Media chasing is your job, it pays for the gas, and it get’s you a name on the internet. Media chasers have thousands of dollars in equipment that can hopefully capture a tornado that you can remote-upload or even live-stream video to television stations and receive a check or direct-deposit the following week.
Storm chasing for the thrill does not pay your bills, you likely have no big-name sponsor and you could careless if you “need” to get footage of a tornado. The issue is, when media chasers break the road laws just to try and obtain footage. This includes driving recklessly, speeding, illegally passing, blowing stop signs and red lights, and yes, driving through farmers fields.
Jason R. Cooley posted a video online, of a torrential downpour when this vehicle comes out of no-where and could have easily killed someone.
“A chaser thinks they own the roads and blew through the intersection going N on OK-34 at 152 as the Elk City tornado was developing. By no accident did they almost cause an “accident”, and it would’ve been us if Alex Bartholomew didn’t react to the stupidity. Also noted is someone passing on the left in a no-pass approaching the main artery intersection and turns into a wrong way turn-lane. THE ROADS ARE NOT A FREE FOR ALL!”
View the video below:
But… the dangerous and stupid acts do not stop there.
And it still continues, all within the past month.
And don’t forget about the mentality of someone portraying to be a law enforcement officer..
And this chaser admitted to his accident, but claimed it was not speed or distracted driving…
The point of this editorial is to bring light to the issue… with the possibility “Tornado Alley” is moving more Northeast… we will have to deal with these type’s of drivers and we need to set a good stand-point that our field operations team is nothing like these midwest-chasers. In the 3 years of our chase team, there have been ZERO vehicle accidents. No traffic citations filed, and all of our chasers are recorded. Stay safe fellow chasers, and remember, a video-sell is not worth the life or someone else’s.