It is with heavy hearts that we report to you storm chaser Andy Gabrielson died in a car accident Saturday near Tulsa, Okla. On his way home from a storm chase in Texas the last two days, Gabrielson was involved in a head-on collision in the town of Sapulpa, which was confirmed by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.Gabrielson also made a couple of appearances in last year's Storm Chasers Discover Channel TV show. In one episode a squabble between team members in one chase vehicle resulted in a member leaving the team on a highway in Nebraska. Gabrielson happened to come along a short time later and picked him up. In another episode Gabrielson's vehicle rolled during a chase as he was backing away from a tornado. He was very respected among the storm chasing community.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. George Brown said a wrong-way driver struck a vehicle head-on, westbound in the eastbound traffic lane. Another person was killed in the collision that involved four cars total.
According to WFAA in Dallas, fellow chasers on the Spotter Network planned to turn on their GPS devices to light up the map in honor of Gabrielson's passing.
Born in 1987, Gabrielson was among several chasers who accompanied Mike Bettes and crew on The Weather Channel's Tornado Hunt, and was a frequent contributor to severe weather coverage on our network. We will keep you posted as more details come in.
Chaser Reed Timmer posted this on Facebook:
Go to spotternetwork.org and zoom in on Kansas. It was a great last chase yesterday Andy. We were all just so happy to be out there. He left our house yesterday making his signature baboon call which would never fail at turning around the mood on a bad chase. We lost not only the best close-range tornado chaser in the world, but such a caring, loyal friend. Andy is one of the few people that would just randomly send out a text message and ask if you're doing okay. Really am going to miss one of the truly nice people that we really need in the storm chasing community and beyond. I say we all get FindTheTornado tattoos I think he would find that hilarious.These guys drive thousands and thousands of miles every year following their passion for chasing storms. They do a valuable scientific and public service as well as bringing us some truly spectacular photos and videos.