The Minnesota State Patrol reported that a woman was killed in a multivehicle accident on Interstate 90 during bad weather Wednesday evening. The crash occurred in Lorain Township, near Worthington, in the southwest portion of Minnesota. Three others in the vehicle were injured, as was one in another car.
Four of the accident victims were storm chasers who stopped to avoid downed power lines before they were struck by a tractor-trailer. The incident is the latest example of the perils of storm chasing; not from tornadoes themselves but in the travel involved in their pursuit, which often requires navigating extremely hazardous conditions.
The fatal accident comes less than two weeks after three meteorology students from the University of Oklahoma were killed in a crash that also involved a tractor-trailer on a highway in bad weather. They were returning home from storm chasing.
Four of the five victims in Wednesday's accident were storm-chasing meteorologists traveling together in southern Minnesota.
Martha Llanos Rodriguez, 30, a meteorologist from Mexico City, was killed. She was a passenger in the vehicle.
Another passenger, Bradford Barrett, 42, suffered life-threatening injuries. Barrett, a physical scientist with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, was previously a professor in the Oceanography Department of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He is known to frequent the Plains to chase storms and had been stationed in Chile recently for his job.
Diego Alvaro Campos, 37, the driver of the car, and Aldo Alberto Viscarra-Avilez, 33, another passenger, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. Both are meteorologists from Chile.
The four met each other through professional networking and conferences.
"We were doing some storm chasing," Campos told the Star Tribune on Thursday morning. "The storm was really bad, and we were trying to get out of there."