Meteorologist from Mexico City killed in Minnesota crash while chasing storms

The chaser's vehicle was stopped because of downed power lines on I-90 when it was hit by a semi, investigators say

WORTHINGTON, Minn. – A meteorologist from Mexico City was killed in a crash Wednesday while chasing severe storms in Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a vehicle carrying a group of storm chasers had stopped on Interstate 90 near Worthington because of downed power lines. That vehicle was then hit by a semi.

Martha Lilian Llanos Rodriguez, 30, was in the vehicle that was hit by the semi and died in the crash, according to MSP. Bradford Scott Barrett, 42, was also in the vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries. Two other people in the vehicle suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.


According to FOX 9, Barrett is a meteorologist who teaches at the Naval Academy in Maryland.

Patrick Hyland, Barrett’s friend, told FOX 9 that Barrett brings meteorologists from Mexico and South America to the Great Plains so they can chase storms.

"There's inherent dangers with storm chasing because obviously the weather itself, but then also, you know, other drivers and road conditions," Hyland said. "So, even the most experienced person that is out looking at storms can encounter some of these dangers when they're out on the road."

Government officials in Mexico sent condolences to Rodriguez's family in a tweet issued Wednesday.

The Northern Plains and upper Midwest have been hit hard by severe weather this week. Since Wednesday, there have been 10 reports of tornadoes, more than 400 reports of damaging wind and more than 200 reports of hail. Most of those reports came from storms that have torn across the Dakotas and Minnesota.

Rodriguez is the fourth storm chaser to die this year.

Three students from the University of Oklahoma were killed in an April crash while returning from a chase. Investigators said their vehicle was hit by a semi on Interstate 35 in Oklahoma after it hydroplaned.