Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spur: Twisters, Death, and Heaven's Gate

Three storm chasers die in Spur, Texas.

A death signals a threshold that appears to be a precursor for other tragic events.

Bill Paxton's death was one of those moments, this year. Paxton died on Saturday, February 25, 2017. A well-known actor in many famous movies, the film most news organizations mentioned was Twister (1996). Cornfields. The Shining.

The next day, February 26th, a Bonnie and Clyde-involved (Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty) fiasco hit the Oscars. Cornfields.

Immediately, several states of the Midwest to the East were hit by the earliest winter records of tornadoes. Cornfields.

Now, tornadoes and death are in the news again.

At about 3:30 pm, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Spur, Dickens County, Texas, three storm chasers were killed in a two-vehicle crash, while chasing tornadoes. A line of tornadic thunderstorms were through the South Plains at the time.

Two of the dead were subcontractors from The Weather Channel, reported the Armadillo Globe News.

DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez said the crash between a Jeep and a Suburban happened 5 miles west of Spur at FM 2794 and FM 1081:
The driver of the Suburban was identified as Kelley Gene Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Missouri. Mr. Williamson was ejected from the vehicle at the time of the crash. Mr. Williamson was not wearing his seat belt. The passenger in the Suburban was identified as Randall Delane Yarnall, 55, also of Cassville, Missouri. Mr. Yarnall was wearing a seat belt. The driver of the Jeep was identified as Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona.
Williamson and Yarnall were contractors for the Weather Channel, according to a statement released by The Weather Channel late Tuesday.
Kelley and Randy were beloved members of the weather community. We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved.
Investigators believe the black Suburban was traveling northbound on FM 1081 when it disregarded a stop sign and collided with the black Jeep that was traveling west on FM 2794.

“There were two drivers and one passenger in the two vehicles,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “All three occupants were pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The crash prompted statements of support and condolences from storm chasers across social media.

Storm chasers die in Twister.

It will be recalled in Twister, there is a scene where the team of Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes), the corporate-funded meteorologist and storm chaser, is shown driving their black Suburbans dangerously close to a F5 tornado. That tornado shifts course towards Jonas's truck, causing a piece of metal to come flying through the windshield and impale his driver Eddie (Zach Grenier). Their truck is then caught by the tornado and thrown into the ground, and both men are killed in the resulting explosion.

Storm chasers are killed. It happens.

But there's more. From Spur, Texas.
Heaven’s Gate – also known as the “UFO cult” – burst into American consciousness 20 years ago this month, when, on March 26, 1997, law enforcement discovered 39 decomposing bodies in a San Diego, California mansion.

Each detail that emerged from the scene stunned a rapt public: Adherents had committed suicide in waves on March 22 and 23, ingesting a lethal mix of barbiturates and alcohol; they lay under purple shrouds, with five-dollar bills and rolls of quarters in their pockets; all wore simple dark uniforms and Nike tennis shoes. ~ Ben Zeller
The leader of the Heaven's Gate cult, Marshall Applewhite (May 17, 1931 – March 26, 1997), was born in Spur, Texas.


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