RIP Andy Gabrielson

Some awful news came my way this evening after awakening. Andy Gabrielson, a young storm observer and videographer who already had made a name for himself in the hobby, was killed by a wrong-way driver on I-44 in Sapulpa, just outside Tulsa. Andy wasn’t chasing, but like Jeff Wear back in 2005, was involved in a return-trip crash the day afterward.

Although I didn’t know Andy, having only met him very briefly once or twice, he seemed very dedicated to the craft. If there was a potential tornado day, somehow he was out there. In fact, after deciding not to chase yesterday (due to poor/insufficient sleep and marginal conditions), I checked the Spotter Network live map and saw that, as on many other storm days, his name was located right next to the most interesting storm in the entire outlook area.

News via OHP is that the wrong-way driver had consumed alcohol. It wouldn’t be surprising; as I cannot fathom how anyone would go the wrong way on a freeway, in broad daylight, without being under the influence of something.

As with Jeff’s crash, the circumstances of the accident itself had nothing to do with storm observing, and could happen to any of us. The news accounts say Andy had a three-year-old daughter–perhaps the saddest part of the story, knowing that his little girl will grow up without a daddy because some drunken idiot drove the wrong way down the turnpike. RIP Andy.


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