NOBLES COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) — One person is dead and several others are injured following a storm-related crash in southwestern Minnesota Wednesday evening. It appears some of the victims were tweeting about the storm prior to the crash and may have been storm chasing.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the incident happened shortly before 6 p.m. on Interstate 90 near Lorain Township in Nobles County. There, power lines had fallen over onto the interstate due to a storm going through.
There were three vehicles involved, a semi-truck and two passenger vehicles. All three were traveling eastbound on the interstate.
When the power lines fell, a motorist in a 2021 Chevrolet hatchback stopped to avoid hitting the power lines. That’s when the semi collided with the Chevrolet. A motorist in a Pontiac only crashed into the power lines.
There were four people inside the Chevrolet. A passenger, identified as 30-year-old Martha Rodriguez of Mexico City, Mexico, was killed in the crash. All other occupants were injured, including one with life-threatening injuries identified as passenger Bradford Barrett of Annapolis, Maryland.
Twitter accounts with Rodriguez and Barrett’s names were tweeting about the storm prior to the crash, and they may have been storm chasing.
It appears a meteorologist from Mexico was killed #stormchasing Wednesday night in SW Minnesota. The vehicle she was traveling in stopped for downed power lines and was struck be a semi.
Hours before she and another person in the car were tweeting about the storm. #mnwx pic.twitter.com/8kjo6kBBOt
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) May 12, 2022
Rodriguez appears to have worked for the Mexican government’s Secretariat of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection. The department posted a statement on Twitter, which translated to: “We deeply regret your departure; and we wish early peace and resignation to the hearts of your family and friends. Rest in peace.”
Lamentamos profundamente tu partida; y deseamos pronta paz y resignación a los corazones de tu familia y amigos. Descansa en paz. pic.twitter.com/FnlUzw0ZSa
— Secretaría de Gestión Integral de Riesgos y PC (@SGIRPC_CDMX) May 12, 2022
Barrett works at the Air Force Research Laboratory. In a statement, the lab said it is “focused on the safety of all the laboratory’s personnel whether on or off duty, and will assist Mr. Barrett and his family however appropriate at this point.”
The semi driver was not injured, while the Pontiac driver suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Wednesday evening’s storms caused widespread damage, including downed trees and power lines. Many are still without power.
More severe weather is in store Thursday, so follow WCCO’s Next Weather updates for the latest.